PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5)--The Superior Court in Maricopa County said it has learned of six more pending adoptions through Paul Petersen.
The Maricopa County Assessor who's in federal custody is accused of international adoption fraud.
In a statement, the Media Relations Office for Superior Court in Maricopa County said the following:
“We have confirmed the existence of six pending petitions to adopt currently before the Maricopa County Superior Court in which Paul Petersen, Esq. is listed as the attorney of record. Given Mr. Peterson’s circumstances, to effectively, efficiently and justly address those matters, they have been reassigned to the Hon. Joseph Kreamer, Juvenile Court Presiding Judge. In adjudicating these pending matters, as in all adoption proceedings, the Court will ensure that the requirements of Arizona Law are met by all parties and the adoption is in the best interest of the child(ren). The release of additional case information on any pending or resolved adoption matters is prohibited by Arizona Statue and will remain confidential.”
The Superior Court and DCS said it can not legally say where the kids are and if they have Marshallese birth moms.
[CONTINUING COVERAGE: Adoption fraud investigation]
"This is by far one of the most complicated cases and just elaborate criminal schemes that I’ve come across in a long time," said Kaine Fisher, an outside family attorney with Rose Law Group.
"Not only is this going to be hard for judges in pulling out their heartstrings, but I think it’s going to be very difficult for them because they’re going to have to either know or research areas of law that they’re not accustomed to dealing with in family court."
He said Judge Kreamer will have his hands full.
"I believe these adoptions won’t go through based on the fraud, and it’s happened before," said Fisher. "...I think that’s the whole purpose of putting these under the same roof with Judge Kreamer, and I think they’ll be handled much in the same fashion. They’re going to be dismissed, and these Marshellese women are going to get their children back."
What gets complicated, the children born here are U.S. citizens.
"It’s questionable whether a Marshallese woman would be able to bring an action here to try to retrieve her children," said Fisher.
He said it's a different story for Marshallese children already adopted and in homes.
"I feel fairly confident that those children are going to remain placed with their adoptive parents," said Fisher.