Arizona official pleads guilty to baby selling scheme that shipped pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to Utah – then put their infants up for adoption at a price

  • Paul Petersen, a Republican who served county assessor in Phoenix for six years, pleaded guilty in Utah to human smuggling 
  • He made separate plea deal in Arizona on Medicaid fraud charges 
  • Petersen admitted to bringing pregnant women from Marshall Islands to the US to give birth, and then putting their children up for adoption for cash 
  • Petersen’s scheme spanned three states and involved at least 70 adoption cases
  • Prosecutors said Peterson paid Marshallese mothers $10,000 each to give their babies up, then charged American families $25,000-$40,000 to adopt them 

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