Maria Luyken Arrested for Alleged Theft of US$378,490

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Maria Luyken (3rd from right) at the court where she faces charges of alleged theft.

Madam Maria Morgan Luyken, the Liberian woman who was, few months ago, found guilty for trafficking two kids to the United States of America without the consent of their biological parents has again been charged this time for allegedly duping US$378,490 from several Liberians.

Defendant Luyken is the chief executive officer of the popular Destiny Entertainment Center located on the Capitol Bye-Pass Community, in Monrovia.

According to the court documents obtained from Criminal Court ‘C’, where Defendant Luyken and several other defendants are expected to stand trial, they (defendants) organized a criminal Enterprise named ‘Cycle of Life Fellowship’, private saving club and used that entity to dupe their victim, Madela Zayzay, who is seeking refund of their money.

Defendant Luyken was on Tuesday, December 15, arrested by officers of the Criminal Court ‘C’ shortly after the indictment was released by another court, the Criminal Court ‘A’, which is responsible for drawing up such document to the Criminal Court ‘C’ to begin Luyken’s and her co-defendants trial.

Luyken, together with Reginald Taylor, Amos Benjamin, S. Bismarck Appleton, Meattia Yancy and Ralph Johnson, were charged with theft of property and criminal conspiracy.

At the court on yesterday, December 15, defendant Luyken was authorized by Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ to go to jail at the Monrovia Central Prison after her lawyers could not secure a criminal appearance bond that should have prevented her from being sent to prison.

Unfortunately, as of yesterday, Luyken was the only one that was arrested in connection to the alleged fraudulent act.

It may be recalled that the Criminal Court ‘B’ this year found Luyken guilty for trafficking and the court set free two of her co-defendants, Ernest Urey and Edwin Walker on ground that the prosecution did not prove the accusation against the duo.

That incident happened in 2018.

However, her team appealed against the court then judgment before the Supreme Court, which has made it difficult situation for the enforcement of the ruling, pending the final decision of the Supreme Court that is not expected very soon.

In her new case, the prosecution claimed that between the period of October 2020, defendant Luyken and her cohorts with criminal intent tricked Zayzay and several other victims deprived them of their US$378,490 through her Fellowship.

Before Luyken’s arrest, the police Investigation’ claimed that Luyken induced and influenced the victims under deceptive minds.

The record alleges that Luyken in her deceptive mind extorted the money and subsequent issued several receipts to her victims to include Zayzay, in the name of, ‘Cycle of Life Fellowship’, which the police claimed as evidence of the commission of her theft.

“The defendants exercise an authorized control over the victim’s cash at the same time, depriving them of the gainful use of their property,” the police report alleges.

In her trafficking case, Luyken was accused on multiple occasions of being a notorious child trafficker. By then she ran an adoption agency, West African Children Support Network, which she used to adopt children and traffic them to the United States, that the prosecution claimed left no trace to their biological parents.

The prosecution claimed that in 2009, 35 children were taken from her agency because the adoption agency did not follow adoption laws and some of the children were allegedly being mistreated. At the time of this case, Canada had stopped adoptions from Liberia because of the alleged child trafficking going on in Liberia. The U.S. Embassy in Liberia, however, still accepted adoption-related orphan visa applications from U.S. citizens. 

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