Arizona official charged with human smuggling in adoption fraud | 10/9/2019 | Staff
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Paul Petersen is seen in an image taken from a YouTube promotional video found on the website of his legal practice.

Phoenix, Arizona — The assessor of Arizona's largest county has been indicted in connection with 11 felony offenses, including human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud in an adoption fraud scheme, authorities said.

Arizona - Attorney - General - Office - Indictment

The Arizona Attorney General's Office confirmed the 32-count federal indictment Tuesday against Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen for conspiracy, theft, forgery, and 29 counts of fraudulent schemes, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Petersen has for years run an adoption law practice in Mesa that involves bringing women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth. Their babies are then adopted by U.S. parents, authorities said. Petersen charged $40,000 per adoption, according to his website.

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Petersen illegally obtained services from Arizona's Medicaid system for the women by falsely claiming they are Arizona residents, the indictment said. He also violated U.S. law prohibiting citizens of the Marshall Islands from traveling to the U.S. for the purpose of adoption, the indictment said.

Petersen - Adoption - Scheme - Payment - Women

"Petersen is alleged to have run an illegal adoption scheme where he recruited, transported, and offered payment to pregnant Marshallese women to give their babies up for adoption in the United States,"...
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