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Former PHX assessor loses appeal in illegal adoption case

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Rick Bowmer | Associated Press
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A former Arizona politician in prison for running an illegal adoption scheme in three states involving women from the Marshall Islands has lost an appeal of one of his sentences.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a six-year sentence given in Arkansas to Paul Petersen, a Republican who served as metro Phoenix’s assessor for six years and also worked as an adoption attorney.

Prosecutors said Petersen illegally paid women to come to the U.S. to give up their babies in at least 70 adoptions cases in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas.

In all, Petersen was sentenced to 11 years in prison in Arizona and Arkansas. He also was convicted in Utah.