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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors calls for Petersen's resignation amid adoption fraud charges

The Board of Supervisors did not want his legal battle to "distract him" from his elected duties, according to a statement.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors called for the resignation of Paul Petersen amid the investigation into his alleged adoption fraud scheme.

Petersen is the Maricopa County Assessor. The Board of Supervisors released a statement Thursday morning.

"Due to the serious nature of these allegations and out of respect for the Maricopa County Assessor's Office, each member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors calls for the resignation of County Assessor Paul Petersen. Petersen’s prompt resignation will ensure his legal issues don’t distract him from leading the County Assessor’s Office. The Board will continue to provide the necessary resources and leadership to the Assessor's Office so the team can remain focused on providing excellent customer service to the residents of Maricopa County."

Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora and county Recorder Adrian Fontes put out a joint statement Thursday also calling on Petersen to resign. 

“The accusations against Mr. Petersen are troubling at the least. While he deserves his right to due process and the legal presumption of innocence, the county’s taxpayers deserve officers who can prioritize their work on behalf of all residents of Maricopa County.

"Without commenting on Mr. Petersen’s guilt or innocence, we believe that, under the circumstances, he should resign. His remaining in office pending these serious legal questions would detract too much from the work that the county must do on behalf of the taxpayers.”

Petersen is accused of bringing pregnant women from the Marshall Islands, signing them up for Medicaid by saying they were Arizona residents, then putting their babies up for adoption.

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Petersen faces 62 criminal charges out of the three states including fraudulent schemes, human smuggling, sale of a child and more.

Petersen was first appointed to his position in 2013 and won election in 2016.

Maricopa County is Arizona's most populous county, and includes Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale.