Skip to Content

Accused assessor pleads not guilty to Arkansas charges

Maricopa County’s assessor has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Arkansas. He also faces state charges in both Arizona and Utah.

Investigators say Paul Peterson brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to Arizona to give birth to their babies. He then brokered adoptions for the infants.

Peterson faces 19 federal counts including smuggling, wire and mail fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. A judge released him from federal custody Tuesday on a $100,000 bond. The judge also ordered him to wear a GPS tracker, to surrender his passport, and to refrain from any adoption work.

Peterson is an attorney who specialized in private adoptions. He’s also the Maricopa County Assessor. Tuesday’s plea comes just one day after the county board of supervisors voted unanimously to suspend Peterson without pay for up to 120 days.

He faces 32 counts in Arizona, mainly related to Medicaid fraud. Prosecutors say Peterson and his co-defendant defrauded AHCCCS out of $800,000. He’s scheduled to face judge in Arizona on November 5.

He faces another 11 counts in Utah, mainly related to human smuggling. He goes before a judge there on November 15.

Peterson has posted bail in both states. He’s been in federal custody since October 8.

His federal trial starts on December 9 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. If convicted, Peterson faces up to 315-years in prison and $5-million in fines.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KYMA News Team


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content