A former Oklahoma County district judge and her husband pleaded guilty Friday to adoption fraud and were put on probation.
Tammy Bass-LeSure, 44, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obtaining public assistance by false representation. Her husband, Karlos Bass-LeSure, 47, pleaded guilty to one felony count of obtaining public assistance and one felony count of attempting to obtain public assistance.
They were accused of secretly giving away twin babies to Ravonda L. Edwards, the sister of the judge's bailiff, after becoming the twins' foster parents. The couple became foster parents for the twins in 2008 and adopted them in 2010.
Edwards, 42, faces six felony counts in the case.
Tammy Bass-LeSure and her husband each received a three-year deferred sentence. Under that type of probation, they will not have criminal convictions if they satisfy all probation terms.
A restitution hearing scheduled for later this month will determine how much they owe the state.
“The state of Oklahoma had to do what they had to do,” Tammy Bass-LeSure said as she left the courthouse after Friday's hearing.
32 counts were dismissed in case
Tammy Bass-LeSure resigned as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Her last official day was Thursday. She had faced almost 40 felony counts. She was accused of fraud, conspiracy, perjury and other offenses.
District Attorney David Prater said Tammy Bass-LeSure used her position as a district court judge to influence the state Department of Human Services and the juvenile court to “accomplish her goal of being awarded custodial placement and adoption approval for the children.”
“Even before the adoption was finalized, Tammy Bass-LeSure and her husband, Karlos, abandoned the children by giving them to Ravonda Edwards,” Prater said in a statement, adding that an investigation “established proof of criminal activity.”
When asked what she would say to the people who look at her as a criminal, the former judge said, “I'm not a criminal.”
She bristled at a television reporter who called her by her first name. “Did you call me Tammy?” she shot back, glaring.
Defense attorney David Autry said 32 counts against Tammy Bass-LeSure were dismissed, including the perjury ones.
“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Mrs. Bass-LeSure or her husband personally profited from any of this,” Autry said.