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Co-conspirator in Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen's alleged adoption scheme pleads guilty

Lynwood Jennet pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft on Thursday.

The alleged co-conspirator in Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen's international adoption scheme has pleaded guilty to multiple charges on Thursday. 

Lynwood Jennet pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft. 

She also pleaded guilty to theft and failure to file a tax return, both from a September case. 

The remaining 45 counts against Jennet were dismissed.

As part of her plea deal, Jennet will "provide complete and truthful testimony and information in any matter involving Petersen," the Arizona attorney general's office said Thursday. 

Jennet, according to the attorney general's office, coordinated certain aspects of the Marshallese adoptions between Nov. 30, 2015 and May 30, 2019. 

She also helped birthmothers in applying for medical benefits through AHCCCS and admitted to fraudulently misrepresenting that the applicants were Arizona residents in order to obtain payment for medical services, including birth costs, the attorney general's office said.

Jennet will spend between two and four years in prison. She also must pay around $867,000 to AHCCCS and about $6,500 to the Arizona Department of Revenue in restitution.

PREVIOUSLY: Lynwood Jennet, woman charged alongside Paul Petersen, enters not guilty plea

Following Thursday's guilty plea, Jennet will be released from custody. She will be fitted with an electronic monitor and be on house arrest until she is sentenced on March 20.  

She cannot have any contact with Petersen or his legal team, any adoption businesses, or any of the women or families associated with the adoptions she has worked on.

Jennet is also prohibited from speaking to the media in order to ensure the integrity of her testimony.

As part of her plea deal, Jennet cannot face further charges regardless of what comes out of the continued investigation.

Jennet was accused of working with Petersen in his alleged illegal international adoption scheme. 

She was accused of fraudulently claiming the pregnant women lived in Arizona with her so they could obtain state benefits.

RELATED: 'These girls feel betrayed': Pregnant Marshallese women living without food, supplies

Arizona's Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the alleged scheme cost the state and Arizona taxpayers more than $800,000.

The pair were accused of identifying pregnant women in the Marshall Islands, flying them to the United States, then facilitating adoptions.

Petersen has been indicted in multiple states but has pleaded not guilty to federal and state charges.


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Families were allegedly charged around $35,000 to adopt the Marshallese babies. 

The pregnant women were paid around $10,000 each. Petersen was believed to be siphoning money off the top of that.

The alleged scheme violates an agreement the United States made with the Marshall Islands, which prohibits Marshallese people from entering the United States if their travel is for the purpose of adoption.

Jennet is Marshallese and was allegedly Petersen's connection to some of the pregnant women.


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 The inside story of Paul Petersen’s adoption assembly line

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