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Published Tuesday September 15th, 2009 at 12:45am

Original Article by Jesse Jones

In Seattle, Washington, Givenright Research claims to have reunited thousands of adoptees with their birth families.

But now customers from all over the country claim they have been given worthless leads by the company.

Carol Nelson was born on March 6, 1948. Three days later she was given up for adoption by her birthmother.

Austin and Helen Riesen became her parents and with them, Carol found a loving home.

However, 61 years later, the Sacramento native still wonders about her birth family.

"There's something missing from your life, you don't know. You just don't know and I don't think anybody can understand it unless you've been adopted," said Carol.

So in November 2007, Carol decided to reach out to Givenright Research, a genealogy company in Federal Way, to help her find her birthmother.

She sent $200 to Jennifer Robinson to begin the search and a month later Robinson had tremendous news.

"I'll never forget that day. She told me that my birthmother had passed away in 1998 and the good news was that I had three half siblings," she said.

Jennifer asked for another $200 so she could give Carol all of the information, including names and phone numbers.

The money was sent, but the information was not.

She sent e-mails and a registered letter that was never picked up.

The company claims it sent some information to Carol about her birthmother, but Carol says she never got a thing.

"It's not about the money, it's about the emotional ups and downs, and pain she caused me to go through," she said.

Carol is one of a dozen people who claim that Jennifer Robinson has taken their money and has produced dubious results. In fact they've started a Web site called

Marie Sperling of Florida started the Web site for several reasons including, paying the company $200 only to find out the person they said was her mother, wasn't.

"It's just despicable what she can do to these people and me. It's horrible," she said.

So I went to the Givenright address looking for Jennifer and she was quick to respond.

"I know there is a Web site a lady made up and she said different accusations. Some of them I can prove are not correct," said Jennifer.

"Such as?" I asked.

"I'm not going to mention those things because that's my defense," responded Jennifer.

Jennifer needs a defense because she is under investigation by the Federal Way Police Department.


Givenright Research

What does she say about Carol Nelson's case?

"If we do not locate within 180 days, she would have gotten a dismissal letter," said Jennifer.

Carol says she never got a dismissal letter. In fact it took Robinson seven months to respond to Carol's Better Business Bureau complaint and she still hasn't responded to many others.

And that's part of the reason the business has an "F" rating with the agency.

I asked if Jennifer was going to give Carol her money back.

"If she doesn't want to continue with our company, I'll give her her money back," she said. "We will."

As for everyone else who has a problem with Givenright, Jennifer says: "If I give you those cases, would you give them their money back? Right now, I don't have money to give everybody back their money."

Jennifer Robinson's attorney says his client performed the work she was contracted to do in both cases. And he says she's willing to continue searching for the two women featured in our story.

The ladies say they are done with the company.

The King County Prosecutor is now reviewing the case.