Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal
Belinda Ramirez, who was convicted in a federal court Wednesday of an Internet adoption scam admits she made a mistake, but says the system failed her.
"I said I was guilty because I didn't want to fight the system and the system turned on me," said Ramirez from a correction facility in San Antonio. "I would like for people to know that I'm not a monster; I'm human and I made a mistake…they treated me worse than a sex offender, they let them go into the world, and I think it was unfair."
She said she was originally in the Aransas County jail and was transferred to the San Antonio facility on Friday. According to the U.S. Attorney General's office, Ramirez was sentenced to 24 months for falsely promising to give her non-existent baby up for adoption to a number of families in exchange for money and other items of value.
"A lot of people are judging me; I come from a good family," she said. "And another thing that ticked me is that I thought I had friends. You know what I mean? Good friends, people that supported me besides my family, they turned out to be two-faced or whatever and I feel really bad that this happened, and it shows what kind of friends you have."
The federal judge also ordered Ramirez to pay restitution in the amount of $19,627 to the individuals she victimized as a result of her scheme.
"I apologized to the judge and everybody there, what I did was a selfish thing and I admitted my guilt, I do have remorse and I have to live with it for about eight months now, there's a difference between justice and being unfair," Ramirez said. "They are asking for $20,000…It's really unnecessary, if you see my indictments it's $1,800 and they are asking me for that restitution…supposedly they said that they talked to me by e-mail.
"They want me to pay for attorney's fees when the adoption didn't exist. I'm paying their attorney's fees. I'm paying for their (victims') attorney that didn't do nothing."
Ramirez said appealing the case would only prolong the situation and she could be out by the time the appeals process is initiated.