Ex-politician in prison for adoption scheme loses appeal

National

FILE – This file photo shows then-Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen, right, and his attorney, Kurt Altman, as they leave a court hearing in Phoenix on Nov. 5, 2019. An appeals court on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, upheld Petersen’s six-year prison sentence in Arkansas for conspiring to smuggling people in an illegal adoption scheme in three states that involved women from the Marshall Islands. He also was sentenced to five years in prison in Arizona for submitting false applications to the state’s Medicaid system so the birth mothers could receive state-funded health coverage and providing false information to a juvenile court. (AP Photo/Jacques Billeaud, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Arizona politician in prison for running an illegal adoption scheme in three states involving women from the Marshall Islands has lost an appeal of one of his sentences.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a six-year sentence given in Arkansas to Paul Petersen, a Republican who served as metro Phoenix’s assessor for six years and also worked as an adoption attorney.

Prosecutors said Petersen illegally paid women to come to the U.S. to give up their babies in at least 70 adoptions cases in Arizona, Utah, and Arkansas. In all, Petersen was sentenced to 11 years in prison in Arizona and Arkansas.

He also was convicted in Utah.

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