NEW YORK – New York City will pay $9.7 million to settle a lawsuit by 10 disabled people who were fraudulently adopted by a woman and subjected to years of abuse.
The plaintiffs sued the city and three contract adoption agencies that placed them with the woman, Judith Leekin, in 2009. Leekin adopted them over an eight-year period ending in 1996.
The plaintiffs claimed Leekin was able to carry out a scam in which she fraudulently collected $1.68 million in adoption subsidies because the city's Administration for Children's Services didn't do its job.
Bruce Strikowsky, a lawyer for the city, called Leekin's scheme "unprecedented." He said Thursday that though the city had strong legal defenses, the settlement will benefit those most harmed by Leekin — "the children she abused."
Claims against the adoption agencies have not been settled.