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An elected official in #Arizona accused of running a #humansmuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the #MarshallIslands to the U.S. pleaded not #guilty Tuesday to federal charges in Arkansas. startribune.com/arizona-offici…
Authorities say #MaricopaCountyAssessor #PaulPetersen faces charges in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah include human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The criminal case against Petersen spans #3years and involves some #75adoptions, authorities say, with about 30 adoptions in three states. Court documents say the women brought to the U.S. were crammed into homes owned by #Petersen, sometimes with little to no prenatal care.
#Petersen is accused in the indictment of #illegally obtaining services from #ArizonaMedicaid system for the women, falsely claiming the women are Arizona residents. Petersen is accused of bilking the state out of more than $800,000. azcentral.com/videos/news/lo…
He fraudulently represented the pregnant women in question as AZ residents, in order to obtain medical services by the AZ Health Care Cost Containment System. Without residency AZHCCCS services cannot be obtained. According to his website, Petersen charges $40,000 per adoption.
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