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PHOENIX — The assessor of Arizona’s most populous county was accused of human smuggling in an adoption fraud scheme that brought dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the United States to give up their children for adoption, court records show.

Maricopa County assessor Paul Petersen was charged with human smuggling, sale of a child, and communications fraud in Utah, and with fraud, conspiracy, theft, and forgery in Arizona.

The charges span about three years and involve nearly 70 adoptions of babies in Utah and Arizona.

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