PHOENIX — Editor's note: The above video is from a previous newscast.
Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen pleaded guilty to a federal charge in Arkansas relating to his allegedly fraudulent adoption business.
According to the plea agreement, Petersen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens for private financial gain.
He faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Petersen originally pleaded not guilty to 19 federal charges in Arkansas back in October.
Petersen has also pleaded guilty to charges in both Arizona and Utah.
RELATED: Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen pleads guilty to multiple felony charges in Utah for adoption scheme
RELATED: Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen pleads guilty to Arizona charges in adoption scheme
Petersen's co-defendant Lynwood Jannet pleaded guilty in December for her involvement in the adoption fraud scheme. She faces between two and four years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
A sentencing hearing for Jennet is scheduled for August 21, 2020 at 11 a.m.
Here is a quick guide to the case that has spanned across months and spread across state lines.
Petersen was arrested in October after officials across three states say he was running an illegal international adoption scheme for years.
The scheme was allegedly centered around women from the Marshall Islands.
In Arizona, Petersen was also accused of claiming the women were Arizona residents so they could obtain state benefits.
Petersen would allegedly pay each pregnant woman up to $10,000 to put their children up for adoption. He would then allegedly charge adoptive families $30,000 to $40,000 per child.
Petersen eventually resigned from his position as Maricopa County assessor and Eddie Cook was appointed to replace him.
ON YOUTUBE: Playlist of previous Pertersen coverage
MORE RELATED ARTICLES:
- Video: Paul Petersen’s co-defendant describes alleged adoption scheme in interview with investigators
- All Marshallese birth mothers involved in illegal adoption scheme have given birth and left Arizona