Indicted County Assessor Petersen’s co-defendant to testify against him

This undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows 46-year-old Lynwood Jennet, who authorities say helped Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen in what authorities have called an illegal adoption scheme involving women from the Marshall Islands.

By Andrew Nicla| Arizona Capitol Times

Indicted Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen’s co-defendant in an alleged illegal adoption scheme has agreed to testify against him. 

Lynwood Jennet, 46, of Mesa, pled guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court Thursday to various charges and she will go to prison for two to four years and could pay nearly $1 million in restitution in exchange for the state dropping 45 other charges. 

She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraudulent schemes and artifices, two counts of theft and a failure to file a tax return. Jennet also has two pending cases against her by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Petersen is accused of paying women from the Marshall Islands to deliver their babies in the U.S. and of organizing the adoptions to American families. He is charged with smuggling and adoption fraud in Arkansas and Utah, and with defrauding the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System in Arizona.

In a prepared statement, Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Jennet’s plea was a step for her toward resolving those cases.

“Today’s development is a significant step towards justice in this case,” Brnovich said. “We will continue to pursue any individual who rips off Arizona taxpayers.”

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