Former Maricopa County Assessor pleads guilty in connection to adoption fraud investigation

Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen is pleading guilty to charges in connection to an international adoption fraud investigation after being accused of paying pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to give up their babies in the U.S.

Petersen originally faced 32 criminal counts in Arizona, but has pleaded guilty to multiple fraud-related charges on a plea deal.

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The former county assessor is facing 3 to 16 years of prison time in total, and is expected to pay $679,000 in damages as part of his plea agreement.

Sources tell FOX 10 that he is headed to Utah on Friday to plead guilty to charges there and that he has also worked out a plea deal in Arkansas.

Prosecutors say Petersen brought women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth then give up their children for adoption.

He resigned from his position as county assessor during the investigation.

Read the Arizona Attorney General's statement here.