Ankeny Woman Arrested in Connection with Another Adoption Scam

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ANKENY, Iowa — Police say an Ankeny woman is in trouble with the law again in connection with an adoption scam.

Twenty-nine-year-old Tracy Bess was arrested last Friday on a 4th degree theft charge for allegedly accepting $200 from a DeWitt couple hoping to adopt a baby. Police say Bess was not pregnant when she conducted the scam.

This isn’t Bess’ first time tricking prospective adoptive parents into providing financial and emotional support in hopes of adopting a baby. Ankeny police say in 2011 she used 19 different aliases to run the scam in several states including Nebraska, Illinois, Hawaii, Iowa, and Kansas. Police say many of the prospective parents traveled to Iowa to visit Bess and were devastated when they discovered it was all a hoax.

“Tracy Bess is an internet predator who intentionally inflicts mental anguish and emotional distress on adoptive parents. This is a strong example of an internet bullying case that has not been considered in the law,” said Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec.

Officials say Bess used sonograms, hospital photographs, and other information from a previous pregnancy to commit the scam. Bess was charged with filing a false report and suborning perjury. She pleaded guilty to those charges on August 22, 2011.

Ankeny police say they were also contacted by a Utah couple in July of 2014 who discovered Bess’ scam but charges were unable to be filed in the case.

If you think you may have been victimized by Tracy Bess, who also goes by the name Tracy Bess-Thacker, you’re asked to contact the Ankeny Police Department at 515-289-5240.


  • marcopolish

    This was a great idea highlighted by a “Law And Order” episode some years ago. But that gal was a lot smarter and had several couples bidding at once, and then upping the extortion fees every so often pretending to get sick or pretending that she was getting cold feet and might abort, plus she had researched the law so to know the loopholes she could use. This girl just didn’t do enough homework.

    • Carol

      I laughed out loud reading your comments. I’m not making fun of you nor do I find these situations funny. It’s just that these stories are so bizarre. You told the Law and Order story very well. thanks

  • dawn

    This woman needs to have her parental rights taken away from her she already has two children and sterilization done on her so she.can have no more. This alone may show her how it feels on the other side. Throw away the key and lock her up

  • Carol

    It seems like she could have some serious mental problems too. Hope she gets help so this does not keep happening.

  • Kat

    I was scammed by this woman 4 years ago as was a friend of mine as well (it’s actually how we became friends)! It’s sickening that this horrible waste is still at it, devastating couples who only want to be parents! It’s sad that she has 2 children now that she is dragging through this as well! Also, she was arrested for prostitution as well! Who the hell would sleep with this scumbag!

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