Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with fraud allegations at the Cambridge-based Imagine Adoption Inc.

The non-profit adoption agency filed for bankruptcy in July 2009, and after public complaints, police launched an extensive investigation.

Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Greg Lamport says "The investigation was very complicated and hence why the amount of time it took place to ensure that everything was looked at that we could."

Regional police, working with the RCMP, arrested and charged 46-year-old Rick Hayhow in Cambridge, Ont. and 45-year-old Susan Hayhow in Whitby, Ont. on Thursday.

Rick Hayhow was the general manager, while Susan Hayhow was the founder and executive director of Imagine Adoption Inc.

The two have been charged jointly with one count of breach of trust, six counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of fraud under $5,000. Individually they have each been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000.

Over $420,000 in agency funds are alleged to have been used for personal expenses including vacations, clothing and renovations to their Cambridge residence.

Police say a large number of financial documents were reviewed and numerous clients of the agency were interviewed as part of the investigation.

Both Rick and Susan Hayhow have been released and are expected to return to a Cambridge court on May 26.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact police at 619-650-8500 Ext. 8370 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Adoptive parents feel sense of relief

The bankruptcy of Imagine Adoption Inc. made headlines nearly two years ago when it left hundreds of parents in the process of adopting children from several African countries in limbo.

Many had already spent thousands on the adoption process.

Former clients Brian and Angela Sandaus were among those caught up in the bankruptcy, and they say they were relieved to hear about the charges.

But Angela says "I also had a lot of painful memories come back from 2009. That was a very hard time for us, for our family, for our friends and for a lot of other families as well."

Susan Taves is the senior vice-president with BDO Dunwoody Ltd., the firm that part of the first investigation into the adoption agency's finances. She says her job how is to be on standby.

"We are going to basically have our file open, and if there's a restitution order that money will come to us and then we can pay it out to the people that were owed money at that time."

Regardless of the outcome the Sandaus are now happy after a new adoption agency, Mission of Tears, took over the Imagine Adoption cases and has finally connected them with a little boy.