The woman who pled guilty to wire fraud and defrauding more than 40 of her clients, egg donors, surrogates and embezzling more than $270,000 from her victims was sentenced to prison time Monday.
Allison Layton, 39, who also used the name Allison Jarvie, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by Judge George Wu at the U.S. District Court in Downtown Los Angeles. She will also face three years of supervised release and must pay back money owed to her victims.
Layton initially faced a maximum of 20 years. Prosecutors sought a 27-month sentence, according a document filed by prosecutors and obtained by GCN.
Layton’s lawyers asked Wu to sentence Layton to probation, arguing that she is a non-violent first time offender and that probation was an impactful sentence. Wu did not agree, stating that Allison’s crimes outweighed probation.
Miracles Egg Donation, Inc. began operated in 2005 out of Layton’s Glendora home and advertised offices in Europe and Australia. It is during her time in Glendora when Allison committed the crux of her scheme, authorities said in a written statement, adding that Layton mismanaged funds intended for clients and surrogates, even using the funds to pay for her own $60,000 wedding.
Miracles allegedly helped 100 clients every year in surrogacy and egg donation services. The website, miraclesinc.net, was operational in February of this year, defying her January 2015 pretrial release agreement that she not work or be employed in the egg donation or surrogacy industry.
In 2011, Layton left her Glendora home and reportedly fled with her husband, eventually settling in Star, Idaho, where Layton reportedly works in a salon and day spa.
In May of 2014, Arizona resident Hoan Nguyen sued Layton for defrauding her out of $19,500, which Layton possibly used to pay off other prospective clients and clients she cheated.
In March, Glendora City News spoke with a lawyer who helped some of Layton’s victims reclaim their funds, which ranged from $10,000 to around $65,000.
Andrew Vorzimer, a lawyer specializing in the egg donor and surrogacy industry, characterized Layton as unethical and heartless.
Vorzimer said Layton would take funds meant to be placed in escrow accounts specifically for the surrogacy services stipulated in the signed contracts and, instead, use it to pay other clients or pad her lavish lifestyle. Layton would often commingle the stolen funds in other business accounts.
“We were insisting on certified cashier’s checks. We would have someone literally meet her at the bank and it was always a different bank,” Vorzimer said in a the March phone interview. “It made us realize that the scandal went deeper, the constant relocation and transfer of these funds.”
Agencies such as Miracles act as a middle man; typically collecting an agency fee, $19,000 in Layton’s case, while other fees are collected and entered into accounts only to be disbursed according to the contracts between the Intended Parents and clients.
“She has no empathy, no compassion. It was all about victimizing and exploiting vulnerable infertility patients,” Vorzimer said of Layton.
The egg donation and surrogacy industry remains largely unregulated and a battleground for Intended Parents to be taken advantage of, Vorzimer said.
At the sentencing, several of Layton’s victims spoke about the emotional rollercoaster they endured.
“It has been a long and difficult four years,” said a former surrogate identified as Ms. Torres. “Allison Layton deserves to go to jail, not only for what she’s done to me, but what she’s done to others.”
Layton appeared in court, donning straight blond hair and a black dress. She expressed remorse for her actions.
“If I could go back in time and change everything, I would. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I used to take pride in my company. Now I am embarrassed and ashamed.”
Julie Cameron, 50, and her husband Kevin were Intended Parents who spent $65,000 to conceive with Miracles after suffering 14 miscarriages.
“Surrogacy was our only hope. Allison Layton befriended us, then took our money.”
Julie carried with her in the courtroom a plastic baby doll wrapped in a pink blanket, which represented what would have been their daughter, now only a long broken dream.
“I know I will meet my children in Heaven. Allison, you need to ask God for forgiveness because you are not getting it from me.”
A restitution hearing is scheduled for October 22.