|Pathology|| Corrupt adoption attorney|
Accessory to kidnapping
Mark Sanford is an attorney who ran an illegal adoption agency and turned a blind eye to the fact that many of the children he helps get adopted are kidnapped.
Sanford was born and raised in Brooklyn and he eventually graduated from Buffalo State University in 1976. Sanford later attended Law School of the Ozarks and graduated in 1979 and passed the New York bar six years later. Throughout his career, Sanford never went to court to argue his cases. Sanford eventually set up a private adoption agency where he would take in babies no one wanted and sell them to perspective couples, paying the mothers for their cooperation. Unknown to everyone but him, he promises one baby to three different couples, picks one to give the baby to, tells the other two couples that the mother changed her mind, and keeps the $30,000 the couples already paid him. No one reported him to the authorities because Sanford threatened to blackball them with other baby brokers, making it impossible for them to adopt at all. Sanford was careful enough to follow all the legal rules in negotiating the adoptions.
In 1989, Jennifer Talmadge got pregnant and contacted Sanford to put her child up for adoption. A few months after Jennifer gave birth, a woman claiming to be Jennifer came to Sanford with Jennifer's newborn son, Stephen Talmadge, and his birth certificate. Sanford had the woman sign him over to him and placed the boy with Adam and Erin Blake and they renamed the baby Tyler. Sanford saw Jennifer's picture in the paper the next day and realized he just sold a kidnapped child, but did not report it so he could keep the profits. In 1999, a crack addict named Alicia Brown contacted Sanford to sell her unborn baby and Sanford agreed. Sanford oversaw the adoption process while working the scam and Brown's baby was given to another couple. Brown contacted Sanford two years later after she got pregnant again to sell her other baby too.
When Brown's baby was stillborn, she stole another baby named Emma Daricek from a grocery stole and passed her off to Sanford as her baby. When the police raid Sanford's brownstone where he was housing the babys, his nurse tips him off and Sanford packs up his files to go on the run. Detectives Munch and Fin catch him in time and arrest him for kidnapping and Sanford invokes his right to counsel. At the precinct, claims that he had no knowledge that Emma was kidnapped and claims he helps couples acquire children. His court appointed attorney claims Sanford is an upstanding member of the legal community and his business is legal. Sanford eventually fires his attorney and hires a new one.
After his connection to the Talmidge kidnapping is revealed, ADA Cabot meet with him and his attorney to discuss a plea. When Cragen threatens to nail him for kidnapping and murder, Sanford denies any involvement and they can't prove otherwise. The charge is eventually kicked down to grand larceny and fraud when they can't find proof Sanford knew Emma was kidnapped. When the police find proof that Jennifer wasn't the one who signed over Stephen to him, they arrange another meeting. Cabot offers a plea of no jail time, restitution to the couples he scammed, and Stephen's location and Sanford takes the plea, revealing Stephen is now Tyler and lives with the Blakes. (SVU: "Stolen")