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An Arizona elected official is faced with a dozen or so of the costs incurred in the three states in connection with a multimillion-dollar establishment scheme in which he allegedly smuggled more than 40 women in the united states of the Marshall Islands, promising them the money in exchange for their babies.
Authorities believe Paul Peterson, an adoption lawyer, and the Maricopa County Assessor, and was the head of a smuggling ring that allegedly recruited for Marshallese women, and a significant amount of money to put their baby up for adoption, in Utah,” Attorney General Sean Reyes told reporters on Wednesday.
THE ARIZONA DRIVER WAS ARRESTED 31 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE FOUND IN A TRACTOR-TRAILER, INVESTIGATORS SAY
Peterson has been charged with 11 second-and third-degree felonies in Utah, including human trafficking, and the sale of one’s child, communication, fraud, or a pattern of illegal activity, Reyes said.
“Marketing to children is banned, and the commercialisation of children is just plain evil,” Reyes said.
De los Reyes said that his office investigation began after investigators received a phone call to a human trafficking tip-line in October, 2017. The staff of the various hospitals in the Salt Lake City might end up with a report of an “influx” of women from the Marshall Islands at birth, and put the baby up for adoption, often accompanied by the same woman.
In Arizona, Peterson has been indicted on 32 charges, including theft, fraud, and forgery. Prosecutors say the scheme defrauded the Arizona’s Medicaid system by $800,000, because the women did not have the intention of remaining in the state when they apply for benefits.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) said it received a tip in December of 2018, a person who has an interest in the adoption of the Peterson’s farm, but was wary of its practice, the court documents state.
Prosecutors say Petersen used the staff in the Marshall Islands, where he was a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to recruit pregnant women by providing many of them with $10,000 to give up their babies for adoption. Petersen would have to pay for it, the women will have to travel to the US for days or even months prior to the birth, and to live in a house that he owned up to the delivery of the baby, according to the records of the court.
Petersen will be charged the families $25,000-$40,000 per adoption, and spent about $2.7 million to a bank account in the determination of the compensation in less than two years, according to court documents.
Under the alliance between the United States of america and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Marshallese citizens in the U.S. and work without a visa, unless they are on a journey for the purpose of adoption of a child, authorities said.
Separately, a federal prosecutor in Arkansas, has announced that Peterson had been arrested on Wednesday and unsealed an indictment charging him with crimes including conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
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The Arizona Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Utah Attorney General’s Office were involved in the arrest, officials said.
The authorities in each of the three states is said to be the birth mothers and the adoptive families did not commit any crimes and should not face charges. No of completed adoptions is to be reversed, because the government does not believe that women were deceived into believing that their children would be returned to them at some point.
Petersen is being held on a $500,000 bond and is due in court on Oct. 15.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.