The investigation is still ongoing...
November 30, 2010
CAMBRIDGE — Fraud investigators are still sifting through documents more than 16 months after an international adoption agency went bankrupt.
“I wish I could, but at this point in time I can’t commit to when we’re going to be completed the investigation,” said Staff Sgt. Dale Roe, head of the Waterloo Regional Police fraud branch. “We are making progress.”
The collapse of Imagine Adoption in July 2009 shocked more than 400 Canadian families hoping to adopt children from overseas, primarily Ethiopia.
Police began probing the Cambridge agency after allegations surfaced of six-figure salaries, leased luxury vehicles and more than $300,000 in suspect expenses charged by senior executives Susan and Rick Hayhow.
Included in the expenses were a horse and saddle, cosmetic dental surgery, trips to Disney World and New York City, and extensive renovations at the couple’s Cambridge house.
Roe said the “quite active” investigation involves one local officer and a member of the RCMP.
“It’s just a complex, long investigation and there is a lot of paperwork to go through,” he said.
In a court document used to obtain financial records for the non-profit agency, police alleged that credit cards were used for personal expenses, senior staff overpaid themselves and “excessive funds” were transferred to Ethiopia.
Susan Hayhow, the executive director, and Rick Hayhow, the chief financial officer, have not commented publicly since the Christian agency went bust.
The couple separated about four months before the bankruptcy. Rick Hayhow resigned and was given a year’s pay as severance without approval by the agency’s board of directors.
Two board members were alarmed after discovering the deal. They began scrutinizing the agency’s finances and went to police with their findings.
After months of turmoil, a majority of clients voted to salvage the agency with a new board and much smaller staff.
Families paid an extra $4,000 each – on top of previous fees of $15,000 or more – to put the agency on solid financial ground. Adoptions have since resumed.
Just PushA man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might...So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of teh unmoving rock, pushing with all his might!Each night the name returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man's weary mind: (He will do it every time!)."You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't moved." Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.Satan said, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving jut the minimum effort; and that will be good enough."That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord."Lord," he said, "I have laboured long and hard in Your Service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimetre. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done.Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed.But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard.Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.