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WOMAN CHARGED WITH ABUSE

A Florida woman accused of fraudulently adopting 11 New York children to bilk a child welfare agency out of $2-million was charged Wednesday with child and adult abuse and other crimes.

Judith Leekin, 62, of Port St. Lucie could get 190 years in prison if convicted on all 10 counts stemming from her alleged abuse of the children, including handcuffing them and holding them captive inside her home, said prosecutor Ajay Whittemore.

Now Leekin faces four counts of aggravated child abuse, four counts of aggravated abuse of her adult children, witness tampering and possession of a fictitious driver's license, Whittemore said. All the charges are felonies.

Leekin remained jailed Wednesday on more than $4-million bail.

Her attorney, Mario Garcia, has said she would plead not guilty and denies the allegations.

Investigators believe Leekin adopted 11 children from four separate New York City agencies using various aliases.

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