County supervisors call for accused assessor to resign

Petersen accused in international adoption scheme

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has called on County Assessor Paul Peterson to resign in the wake of his arrest in connection with an international adoption scheme.

Peterson remains behind bars on $500,000 cash bond.  He also faces multiple felony charges in Utah and Arkansas. 

Investigators say he illegally arranged for 28 pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to fly to Arizona, live in a house he owns, and deliver the babies before placing them for adoption.  

State Medicaid paid for most of the women's delivery expenses. Peterson's also accused of illegally arranging for more than $800-thousand in illegally benefits. 


The Board of Supervisors cannot remove other elected officials from office, but they can apply political pressure to have him step down on his own.

Gov. Doug Ducey has also called for Peterson's resignation.  

Meanwhile, prosecutors says they will not interfere with the dozens of adoptions completed as part of the human smuggling scheme.  They say they consider both the adoptive parents and the birth mothers victims in the scheme.  


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