COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A Florida man faces charges in Maryland that he defrauded clients of a company that offered to help locate and financially support pregnancy surrogates for people trying to become parents.
Gregory Ray Blosser, 37, was arrested Monday in Florida on a wire fraud charge and detained until a Friday hearing in Miami, according to federal prosecutors.
Blosser has operated The Surrogacy Group since 2012, with offices in Annapolis, Maryland, and Tampa, Florida. Clients paid Blosser tens of thousands of dollars to find surrogates and support them during pregnancies. Blosser failed to either locate suitable surrogates or pay for their fees or medical expenses after clients deposited money into escrow accounts, a criminal complaint says.
"The victims were not able to obtain refunds, despite numerous attempts by phone and e-mail," a Justice Department press release says. "Victims whose surrogates were not paid by Blosser had to pay the surrogates directly, even though they had provided funds to Blosser for that purpose."
An assistant federal public defender who represented Blosser at his initial court appearance Tuesday didn't immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment Friday.
Blosser's victims include seven clients from Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Australia and Germany who collectively paid Blosser approximately $200,000, according to an FBI agent's affidavit.
"The allegations in this case are especially egregious because they involve someone taking advantage of individuals who are trying to become parents," U.S. Attorney Robert Hur, of the District of Maryland, said in a statement. "Criminals who line their pockets through such heartless deceit will be held accountable."
Blosser also faces civil lawsuits in Maryland and Florida, including complaints filed by the attorney general's offices in both states.
An investigation by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody's office concluded that The Surrogacy Group and Blosser collected approximately $270,000 from clients for services they didn't render.
"The Surrogacy Group and (Blosser) portray themselves as trusted guides, but for many they have betrayed this trust by taking tens of thousands of dollars and then abruptly stopping services or providing no services at all," the Florida complaint says.
On April 22, a circuit court judge in Maryland issued a temporary restraining order barring Blosser from selling surrogacy-related services in the state, according to state Attorney General Brian Frosh's office.
The FBI has set up a webpage to identify and contact other clients who may have been defrauded by Blosser and The Surrogacy Group.
A federal magistrate judge ordered Blosser released on $100,000 bond after his detention hearing Friday, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Miami.
Blosser, a resident of Tampa, is expected to make his initial court appearance in Maryland on May 17. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted of the wire fraud charge.