Adoption attorney booked into Washington County Jail, hearing set for today


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — An adoption attorney indicted in an alleged multi-state adoption scheme is set to appear in federal court on Tuesday (October 29).

Paul Petersen faces 32 felonies in Arizona, 11 felonies in Utah and 19 in Arkansas.

These include charges of human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud.

Petersen was booked into Washington County Detention Center at 4 a.m. on October 29 on a federal court hold.

DAK Kees, U.S Attorney of the Western District of Arkansas, said Petersen is believed to have recruited, transported and offered payment to pregnant Marshallese women to give their babies up for adoption in the United States.

The United States and the Marshall Islands have an agreement that prohibits this type of agreement.

Petersen will appear in court today for a hearing.

If found guilty of all charges, Petersen would face 315 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

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