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Arizona News

Former Maricopa County Assessor sentenced to 6-years in prison


Paul Peterson admitted running illegal adoption scheme

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A former Maricopa County Assessor is heading to federal prison.

Paul Peterson admitted to running an illegal adoption scheme in three states. Prosecutors say Peterson paid women from the Marshall Islands to come to the United States and give up their babies for adoption. Arizona prosecutors say he also procured state benefits to pay for women's prenatal care, and to cover the cost of their deliveries.

Investigators say he and his partners arranged at least 70 illegal adoptions in Arizona, Utah, and Arkansas. He's pleaded guilty to the charges he faces in all three states.

Tuesday a federal judge in Arkansas sentenced him to six-years in prison on a single count of conspiracy. Next month, judges in Arizona and Utah will hand down sentences. Prosecutors say all Peterson's sentences will be served concurrently.

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.


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