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Crime Arizona Official Smuggled Pregnant Women Into the U.S. and Paid Them to Give Up Their Babies: Authorities

01:00  10 october  2019
01:00  10 october  2019 Source:   thedailybeast.com

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An Arizona official faces charges in two states for his alleged role in an international adoption fraud scheme that involved smuggling pregnant women After the children were born, Peterson allegedly offered the women money to give their babies up to U . S . parents and allegedly charged ,00 per

Share this Story: Arizona adoption lawyer smuggled pregnant women into U . S country of volcanic islands between Hawaii and the Philippines, to give up their children for adoption in Arizona . Petersen and Jennet claimed the pregnant women were Arizona residents so they could receive

An Arizona official faces charges in two states for his alleged role in an international adoption fraud scheme that involved smuggling pregnant women into the U.S. from the Marshall Islands, and then paying them to give up their babies, according to court documents.

a group of people posing for the camera: MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE© Provided by The Daily Beast MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen was charged Tuesday night with 11 felony offenses, including human smuggling, the sale of a child, and communications fraud, the Utah Attorney General’s Office said during a Wednesday press conference.

“The commercialization of children is illegal and the commoditization of children is simply evil,” Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said, adding that authorities “have no interest in interfering with adoptions that have already taken place.”

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An elected official in Arizona was suspended Monday after he was charged with running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U . S . to give birth and then paid them to give up their children for adoption. The Maricopa County Board of

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - An adoption attorney who also serves as an elected official in Arizona ' s largest county has been indicted in his alleged role in an adoption fraud scheme. Paul Petersen, the assessor for Maricopa County, was arrested on Tuesday night (Oct 8)

Peterson, an adoption lawyer who is licensed in Arizona and Utah, was also hit with charges in Arizona, including conspiracy and theft, according to a Tuesday indictment filed by the state’s Attorney General’s Office. He was arrested in California, officials said.

Prosecutors allege Petersen “recruited” and transported more than 40 pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands—a country of islands between Hawaii and the Philippines—to Utah over the last three years. Reyes said Peterson first established a connection with the Marshall Islands through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After the children were born, Peterson allegedly offered the women money to give their babies up to U.S. parents and allegedly charged $40,00 per adoption, according to the indictment. The elected GOP official allegedly failed to disclose the scheme to his adoptive parent clients.

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An elected official in Arizona was suspended after he was charged with running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U . S . to give birth and then paid them to give up their children for adoption.

PHOENIX — An elected official in Arizona was suspended Monday after he was charged with running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U . S . to give birth and then paid them to give up their children for adoption.

Arizona and Utah investigators said Wednesday they believe at least 29 babies, some of whom were brought to other states to be adopted, are victims of the scheme.

Reyes added Utah authorities were first alerted to the scheme after concerned hospital workers and adoption lawyers called a human trafficking tip line. On Tuesday evening, Arizona authorities executed search warrants in multiple locations and found eight pregnant women from the Marshall Islands inside a Mesa home. It is not immediately clear what connection Petersen has to the property.

“We are thinking of the birth mothers, adoptive families and children in this case as victims,” Reyes said, adding that Peterson’s alleged scheme “exploited highly vulnerable groups in two countries—the birth mothers and families in the Marshall Islands and the adoptive parents here in Utah.”

The 32-count indictment filed in the Superior Court of Arizona alleges Petersen and his colleague, Lynwood Jennet, also organized travel for “pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to come to Arizona for the purpose of giving a child up for adoption.”

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An Arizona elected official is facing dozens of charges in three states in connection with a multimillion-dollar adoption scheme in which he allegedly smuggled more than 40 women into the U . S . from the Marshall Islands, promising them money in Petersen would pay for the women to travel to the U . S

An Arizona elected official has been suspended without pay after being charged with running a human smuggling operation involving more than 40 pregnant Petersen recruited pregnant women from the Marshall Islands, arranged for them to fly to Utah — where he owns a home outside Salt Lake

Prosecutors say Peterson claimed these women as Arizona residents in order to receive medical services from the state’s Medicaid system.

“After the birth of the child, Paul D. Petersen and Lynwood Jennett facilitated travel for these women to leave Arizona,” the indictment alleges. “In several instances the women returned directly to the [Republic of the Marshall Islands.”

The scheme also allegedly violated the 1983 compact with the Republic of the Marshall Islands that prevents the island’s citizens from coming to the U.S. “for the purpose of adoption” unless they have a special visa.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich emphasized in a press conference Wednesday that the families who fell victim to the alleged scheme are not being investigated.

“These adoptions are not in jeopardy. Our focus is on the individuals who facilitated these adoptions,” Brnovich said.

Peterson was first appointed as Maricopa County assessor in 2013 after serving as the office’s liaison to the legislature. The Republican candidate was re-elected in 2016 in an unopposed election.

According to his website, the father of four has been working with adoptive parents for almost 15 years and is also an active member of the Maricopa County Republican Party and the Arizona Republican Party.

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