Arizona official arrested for child trafficking and smuggling
Assessor of Arizona’s Maricopa County, Paul Petersen was arrested on Tuesday. Charges against him were brought forward in Arkansas, Arizona and Utah. The official was convicted of forgery, selling children, fraud and money laundering.
Investigators counted 40 women who succumbed to the persuasion of the criminal and more than 80 cases of adoption of children over 3 years of his illegal activity. It is reported that during his two-year service at the Marshall Islands, Petersen created a lucrative and illegal recruitment scheme for pregnant women through an international adoption company located there.
“The commercialization of children is illegal. And the commoditization of children is simply evil," said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes.
As part of his plan, Paul Petersen offered pregnant women money and accommodation in his Utah house. After giving birth, Petersen drove the women out and resold the children as an adoption.
Investigating each case, the investigators found out that the expectant mothers were kept in terrible conditions, they didn’t even have beds, the women slept on mattresses laid on the floor. People living next door to an illegal maternity ward started complaining about unsanitary conditions and mountains of rubbish consisting of diapers and other personal care products. Due to complaints, Petersen was forced to sell the house and move women to Arkansas.
According to official information, all cases of adoptions will not be considered as violations of the laws. The prosecution described women and children as victims of Paul Peterson.
According to preliminary estimates, Paul Petersen earned nearly $ 3 million through his children's sales scheme. Each parent who wanted to adopt a child paid about 60 thousand dollars, while women in labor received only 10 thousand dollars.
Image: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office