Ex-Arizona Gov. Brewer shocked by Maricopa County assessor’s arrest

Oct 9, 2019, 6:30 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 8:31 am

Paul D. Petersen (Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Assessor's Office)...

Paul D. Petersen (Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Assessor's Office)

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Assessor's Office)

PHOENIX – Jan Brewer has known Paul Petersen “since he was a young kid” and used to call him “Tall Paul.”

Brewer, Arizona’s former governor, said she was stunned to learn the Maricopa County assessor had been implicated in an adoption fraud scheme.

“I do know him, and I knew his father, who was Arizona’s treasurer,” Brewer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday afternoon. “And it’s just shocking and almost unbelievable that something of this magnitude showed up this morning on the news.”

Petersen, 44, was arrested Tuesday after a multi-state investigation and accused of recruiting, transporting and offering to pay pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to adopt out their babies in the U.S.

A 32-count indictment said Petersen falsely claimed the women were Arizona residents to get them state-funded health care coverage, bilking Arizona’s Medicaid system more than $800,000.

“They’ve got a case,” Brewer said. “It does not look good. He’s in big trouble, in my opinion.”

Brewer said she remembered Petersen as a “decent kid” when he was growing up.

“For him to end up in this cesspool, this mess, you know it’s heartbreaking. I can’t imagine what his family’s feeling or his children or his wife,” she said.

Brewer said she never would have expected Petersen to wind up in this kind of trouble.

“People in politics for some reason, people in business for some reason, they get offered an opportunity and the greed, the God-almighty dollar, steps in and takes over and that’s obviously what had happened here,” she said. “Surely he knew what he was doing was wrong.”


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Bipartisan state budget of $16 billion passes in Arizona Legislature...

Associated Press

Arizona lawmakers pass bipartisan $16.1 billion budget, fix $1.4 billion deficit

Arizona lawmakers passed a $16.1 billion bipartisan state budget, which Gov. Hobbs negotiated with GOP leaders, on Saturday evening.

3 hours ago

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close (ADOT Photo)...

Bailey Leasure

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close for 2 months

 The southbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Princess Drive and Pima Road in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for two months

5 hours ago

Improvements coming to Brooks Crossing Park (City of Chandler Photo)....

Bailey Leasure

New improvements coming to Chandler’s Brooks Crossing Park

Chandler City Council approves a construction agreement that will allow for improvements to Brooks Crossing Park.

6 hours ago

The new Desert Sage Restaurant & Bar inside the recently renovated Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hot...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa wraps up extensive renovation

The Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa hotel in Glendale recently underwent a nine-month long, multimillion-dollar renovation.

7 hours ago

arizona water conservation...

Nick Borgia

Arizona to invest $8.5 million for water conservation project

Arizona senators announced that $8.5 million will be invested in Arizona to continue a feasibility study related to water conservation.

16 hours ago

guns and drugs...

Nick Borgia

22-year-old Tucson man indicted for trafficking firearms and drugs

A Tucson man was indicted by a federal grand jury for having possession of multiple illegal firearms, weapon attachments and cocaine.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Ex-Arizona Gov. Brewer shocked by Maricopa County assessor’s arrest