A former elected official in metro Phoenix accused of running an illegal adoption scheme in three states involving women from the Marshall Islands has pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
Paul Petersen acknowledged submitting false applications to the Arizona’s Medicaid system for the mothers to receive state-funded health coverage. He faces a maximum of 17 years in prison. Petersen is a Republican who served as Maricopa County’s assessor until his resignation in January. He faces charges in Utah and Arkansas as part of the alleged scheme. His attorney says Petersen is scheduled to enter guilty pleas Friday in Utah and next week in Arkansas.