See Utah houses Paul Petersen owned and some Marshallese women stayed

Authorities say Petersen has for years run an adoption law practice in Mesa that involves bringing women from the Marshall Islands, pictured, to the U.S. to give birth

Padlocks and dirty diapers: New owner describes house where Marshallese women stayed

Bu Jessica Boehm | Arizona Republic

Alanna Mabey didn’t know the man who owned her West Valley City, Utah house before she purchased it in May — but she’s learned a lot about Paul Petersen, and what he did with the house, since he was arrested on Oct. 8.

Petersen is a Phoenix-based adoption attorney who authorities say housed as many as 15 pregnant Marshallese women in the West Valley City house. He’s also Maricopa County’s elected county assessor. 

Petersen now faces dozens of felony charges in Utah, Arizona and Arkansas in what prosecutors are calling an international adoption fraud scheme. 

They say Petersen illegally arranged for pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to fly to the United States to deliver their babies, which he then placed for adoption with American families for as much as $40,000.


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November 2019