Rudy Rupak has had his day in court. Rupak, the founder of Planet Hospital, a medical tourism company based in California and specializing in assisted reproduction services abroad, has been indicted on federal wire fraud charges. San Diego Reader cited the indictment, underscoring how Rupak defrauded clients of what is estimated to be more than $2 million.
Most heartbreakingly of all, Rupak’s deception was aimed at individuals and couples, facing the emotional turmoil of infertility, who wanted to start a family through surrogacy. Intended parents thought they were in good hands at Planet Hospital.
Instead, Rupak,48, purportedly acted as a surrogate broker who matched clients living in the United States and abroad with egg donors, surrogates, and fertility clinics headquartered in Mexico.
The indictment indicated that Rupak pocketed an enormous amount of money paid to him by clients, rather than using it to pay fees associated with the surrogacy process as advertised. Numerous unsuspecting intended parents were deceived into thinking that their surrogacy was moving forward, until they would receive payment demands from service providers whom they had supposedly already paid through Rupak. Ultimately, the clinics and other providers went unpaid, and the intended parents were left without a baby.
“People who seek the help of a surrogate are on an exhausting, expensive and emotional journey,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “They shouldn’t have their dream to have a child trampled by someone they trust to help them.”
According to the Times of San Diego, Rupak appeared in federal court on Tuesday, June 21. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Major offset Rupak’s bail at $50,000 and ordered Rupak back in court on July 25.
Reports show that Rupak started his surrogacy brokerage services in 2008.
“Beginning in September 2009 and continuing until at least January 2014, Rupak solicited international surrogacy clients, luring them with promises of discounted prices and then hitting them with additional fees later,” prosecutors said and the media reported. “He allegedly convinced the clients to send him thousands of dollars by falsely representing that their funds would be put into escrow accounts and used only to pay for medical services.”
The indictment goes on to say that, “These companies would then demand additional funds from Rupak’s clients, who had already paid for the services.” It continues, “To cover up the theft, Rupak allegedly created unauthorized websites and email addresses in the name of a clinic and its physician in order to send emails to Planet Hospital clients, giving excuses for why Planet Hospital had not provided promised services or falsely claiming that surrogacy procedures were unsuccessful.”
Apparently, after Rupak’s arrangement started to crumble, he created a backup plan that prosecutors are describing as a Ponzi scheme. Rupak recruited new clients and used monies from them to pay for services for Planet Hospital’s current intending parents.
Aggrieved intended parents can watch Rupak’s criminal case unfold and while it cannot change what happened, may “justice” be served and may those that were defrauded receive the restitution they deserve.