A former politician from the Arizona GOP who admitted to running an illegal adoption system in three states was sentenced on Tuesday to six years in prison in federal prison.
Former Republican surveyor for Maricopa County, Paul Petersen, was convicted after women from the Marshall Islands were paid illegally into the United States to adopt their babies in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas in at least 70 incidents in three years.
In the context of human trafficking, women were brought to the United States to give birth, despite the fact that Marshall Island nationals are prohibited from going to the United States for adoption.
Tuesday’s verdict is the first of three sentences and revolves around the Arkansas case, It was reported by the Associated Press.
Judge Timothy Brooks ordered the verdict at a virtual hearing that was two years longer than the punishment proposals, Petersen said the AP said the joyous celebration had become a “baby shop business”. The judge rejected Petersen’s argument that at first he did not know he was breaking the law.
“He knew it was wrong to lie and make false statements to immigration officials and state courts,” he said.
At the hearing, Petersen apologized to mothers who said they did not respect them, adding that he did not approve of subordinate treatment of mothers, saying, “I take responsibility for the lack of supervision,” the AP writes.
Prosecutors said some mothers had their passports taken to prevent them from leaving the country, and some were told they would be arrested if they did not go through the adoption.
Petersen will be convicted in Arizona and Utah next month. Prosecutors accused the former appraiser of fraudulently submitting applications to the Arizona Medicaid system for mothers while claiming to live in the state. He said he reimbursed $ 670,000 of $ 800,000 to Arizona for health care costs.
Prosecutors said Petersen earned money from a program that helped pay for travel, luxury cars and more at home.
Petersen was charged In October 2019, he spun up the county to suspend him. The former assessor then promised not to resign.
Finally, he resigned “reluctantly” last January, stating that “he was an innocent man, but the media and the Board of Supervisors presumed my guilt rather than my innocence in this matter”.
In June, she acknowledged her involvement in the adoption.