Paul Petersen, an adoption lawyer and Maricopa County Assessor, has been charged with dozens of crimes for allegedly leading a human trafficking operation that smuggled pregnant women into the country from the Marshall Islands.
Authorities accuse of Petersen of bringing these Marshallese women into the U.S. where they would give birth to their children who would then be placed them up for adoption in the state of Utah. He faces 11 second and third-degree felonies in Utah, which include sale of a child, human smuggling, and communications fraud.
“The commercialization of children is illegal and the commoditization of children is simply evil,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said to reporters on Wednesday.
Petersen is charged with an additional 32 charges in his home state of Arizona, including fraud, forgery and theft. Prosecutors believe he committed Medicaid fraud to the tune of $800,000, as the women he smuggled into the country were unlawfully subsidized by the state. He has also been charged in Arkansas of crimes like conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud.
Petersen gained a foothold in the Marshall Islands due to his missionary work there with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to court records, he would offer pregnant women up to $10,000 to travel to the U.S. shortly before they were scheduled to give birth. Once they were there, he would house them until the babies were delivered.
His scam was apparently very lucrative, as court records indicate he would charge families between $25,000 and $40,000 to adopt a child and amassed $2.7 in a bank account over a two-year span. He is being held on a $500,000 bond while awaiting a court appearance on Oct. 15.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is calling upon Petersen to resign following the ghastly conspiracy charges lobbed against him.
“Due to the serious nature of these allegations and out of respect for the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office, each member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors calls for the resignation of County Assessor Paul Petersen,” the board said in an official statement.
“Petersen’s prompt resignation will ensure his legal issues don’t distract him from leading the County Assessor’s Office. The Board will continue to provide the necessary resources and leadership to the Assessor’s Office so the team can remain focused on providing excellent customer service to the residents of Maricopa County,” they added.
Before these charges surfaced, Peterson was considered a Republican politician in good standing, and a friend of former Gov. Jan Brewer.
“I do know him, and I knew his father, who was Arizona’s treasurer,” Brewer said during an appearance on a KTAR News radio show Wednesday afternoon. “And it’s just shocking and almost unbelievable that something of this magnitude showed up this morning on the news.”
“People in politics for some reason, people in business for some reason, they get offered an opportunity and the greed, the God-almighty dollar, steps in and takes over and that’s obviously what had happened here,” she added about her long-time colleague. “Surely he knew what he was doing was wrong.”
Illegal Alien Arrested in the Beating, Torture, and Death of His Nine Year Old Son in Idaho
Erik Osuna is an illegal immigrant.
A man identified by prosecutors as an illegal alien has been arrested in the beating and torture of his own son, with the boy’s stepmother being charged with murder in his death.
Emrik Osuna, a nine year old boy, was discovered starved and covered with bruises at the residence of Erik Osuna-Gutierrez and Monique Osuna. First responders who were summoned to the Meridian, Idaho home later pronounced the boy dead.
(Pictured: nine year old Emrik Osuna.)
(Pictured: Erik and Monique Osuna.)
Police reports indicate that Monique Osuna has admitted to police that she kicked her stepson in the groin and beat him with various household objects, among them a frying pan, a wooden spoon, a backscratcher, a belt, and even a dog leash. She’s being charged with murder, and Erik Osuna is being charged with felony injury to a child, infliction of great bodily harm and destruction of evidence in the abuse of the child.
The couple allegedly subjected the nine year old boy to a sickening regimen of continual child abuse, such as forcing him to exercise for hours, locking him into a closet, and feeding him starvation rations of water and rice for weeks. Prosecutors are alleging that Erik Osuna allowed the abuse to happen, and that the sick couple only called 911 hours after Emrik Osuna was in severe medical distress.
Idaho prosecutors have identified Erik Osuna as an illegal immigrant, pointing him out as a flight risk in pre-trial bond hearings in the case. They urged a judge to deny Osuna a bond because of his status as an illegal, arguing that he could attempt to flee because he doesn’t have many personal connections in the state.
Both Osunas are being held on $2 million bonds in the Idaho jail system, and neither have entered a plea in response to the charges. Their next court appearance is scheduled for September 17th.
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