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Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen headed to prison for illegal adoptions

Paul Petersen as Maricopa County Assessor
Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 20, 2021

PHOENIX — A former Arizona politician must report to prison Thursday to begin serving the first of three sentences for running an illegal adoption scheme.

Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen acknowledged running the scheme that paid pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give up their babies.

He was sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty in Arkansas to conspiring to commit human smuggling.

Petersen is awaiting sentencing in Arizona for fraud convictions and in Utah for human smuggling and other convictions.

Petersen's attorney didn't return phone and email messages seeking comment.