LOCAL NEWS

Adoptions In Trafficking Scheme Won’t Be Undone

Oct 10, 2019, 7:56 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:01 pm
This undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Assessor's Office shows Assessor Paul Petersen. Petersen has been indicted in an adoption fraud case, accused of arranging for dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give their children up for adoption. Utah also has charged him on multiple felony counts, including human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud. (Maricopa County Assessor's Office)
(Maricopa County Assessor's Office)

PHOENIX (AP) – Officials in three states say they will not try to undo or interfere with dozens of adoptions done as part of a human smuggling scheme that led to charges against an Arizona county assessor.

Prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas said Wednesday that they consider the adoptive parents to be victims in the scheme along with the biological mothers who were brought from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth and hand over their babies.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the focus of the case is on the abuse of the system by Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen.

Authorities say Petersen has for years run an adoption law practice in Mesa.

Petersen’s attorney, Matthew Long, defended his client’s actions during a Tuesday court hearing in Phoenix as “proper business practices” and said they disagreed with the allegations.

RELATED

Family Says Adoption Agency Pressured Them, Biological Mother In Illegal Marshallese Adoption

Homeowners Say Man Accused In Adoption Scheme Held Marshallese Women In Utah Home

Arizona County Assessor Charged In Human Smuggling Case

 

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Adoptions In Trafficking Scheme Won’t Be Undone