Former Arizona County Assessor Sentenced To Jail for Human Smuggling

Former Arizona County Assessor Sentenced To Jail for Human Smuggling

In an adoption fraud case in Utah, a former Arizona county assessor was convicted for human smuggling.

According to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Paul Petersen secretly shipped pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the United States. He did so under pretenses about the legality of the adoption and the treatment given to the mothers. Couples in Utah paid $40,000 to adopt the children.

Assistant Attorney General Daniel Strong said in a news release, “Petersen exploited families in the Marshall Islands and Utah to benefit himself financially.” He said, “his abuse of the adoption process — which should be sacrosanct — is particularly egregious.”

According to court records filed by the AG’s office, the women were allegedly offered $10,000 to give up their children. A woman working for Petersen reportedly told a social worker that she was going to the Marshall Islands to “find pregnant women to adopt their babies out.” According to an audit by the AG’s office, they were not provided sufficient prenatal care before giving birth.

Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement that while protecting child victims every day is mentally and physically draining, his office has found some relief now that Petersen has been sentenced to the full penalty for the charges.

Scott Williams, Petersen’s lawyer, said that his client did not victimize anyone.

“The word smuggling is completely inappropriate, and the state knows it,” he said. “Nobody, in this case, did anything that they didn’t want to do.”

According to Williams, Petersen didn’t contest the allegations because he didn’t want to bring birth mothers and adoptive families into the spotlight by making them testify in court. Prolonged court proceedings, he said, would jeopardize the sanctity of the adoptions Petersen helped to establish.

Nurses and medical practitioners, according to Reyes, provided details that prompted an investigation into Petersen.

The scheme took place all over the country, not just in Utah.

In Arizona and Arkansas, Petersen was sentenced to jail for doing the same thing. His sentence in Utah will run concurrently with his sentences in the other states. According to the press release, he will serve 11 to 15 years in jail.

About Iesha

Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

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