NewsPolk County

Actions

Polk woman who started organization for grieving moms accused of fraud

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jun 04, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A Polk County woman who launched a charity organization for moms grieving the losses of their babies was arrested for fraud allegations.

Lori Estevez, president and director of Stories of Babies Born Still (SOBBS), is under investigation for allegations of "engaging in a scheme to defraud donors and misappropriation of funds," according the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

According to the Ag Department, Estevez is accused of making donors believe their money would help pay for "Comfort Cradle Devices." The devices would preserve a baby's body and give parents time to say goodbye.

State investigations, however, revealed that many of those orders were never fulfilled.

“The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has zero tolerance for sham charities perpetrating fraud against its donors. Stealing the money of parents grieving the loss of a child is a vile and appalling act,” Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a press release. “After a thorough investigation by our OALE investigators, we will be taking legal action and holding this charity accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prior to her arrest, ABC Action News had profiled Estevez's organization back in November 2019.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Polk County teen raising awareness for cooling cradles in honor of brother born still