Petersen Gets 3rd Prison Sentence In Utah

Published: Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 12:14pm
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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Paul Petersen

A Maricopa County elected official arrested and accused of running an illegal adoption ring that turned expecting moms into illegal immigrants made international news in 2019.

Eighteen months later, Paul Petersen has just received the last of three prison sentences that authorities said will keep him behind bars for up to 15 years.

Eleven years is the least amount of time the former county assessor will spend in prison, said the Attorney General’s Office in Utah, where Petersen was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to human smuggling and communications fraud.

Part of the 11- to 15-years range comes from a federal prison sentence in Arkansas, where the Arizona Republican pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants for profit.

Petersen’s other prison term was ordered by a judge here, where he pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud and using fake documents in juvenile court.

Petersen ran his adoption business with pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

He’s already appealed at least one of his sentences.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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