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NY foster agencies to pay $17.5M to settle lawsuit by 8 who were fraudulently adopted, abused

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MIAMI — Attorneys say three private New York foster care agencies will pay $17.5 million to settle a lawsuit by eight people who were fraudulently adopted by a woman and claimed they were repeatedly abused, starved and imprisoned in a "house of horrors."

The lawsuit was filed in 2009 in Brooklyn federal court on behalf of the children adopted by 67-year-old Judith Leekin over an 8-year period ending in 1996.

Leekin was sentenced in 2009 in Florida to 20 years in prison. She also was sentenced in New York to 11 years in federal prison for fraud.

She was living in Florida with the children when the fraud finally was revealed in 2007. She adopted them in New York City and moved to Florida in 1998.

Many of the children are now adults and living in Florida.

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