An Arizona official faces charges in two states for his alleged role in an international adoption fraud scheme that involved smuggling pregnant women into the U.S. from the Marshall Islands, and then paying them to give up their babies, according to court documents.
Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen was charged Tuesday night with 11 felony offenses, including human smuggling, the sale of a child, and communications fraud, the Utah Attorney General’s Office said during a Wednesday press conference.
“The commercialization of children is illegal and the commoditization of children is simply evil,” Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said, adding that authorities “have no interest in interfering with adoptions that have already taken place.”
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