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Visa fraud

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Mexico

Crime doesn't pay....and stuff like this makes it tougher on all of us....From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Former state rep sentenced for fraud

By Cheryl Wittenauer



ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Former State Rep. Nathan Cooper, somber and tearful in federal court, was fined $6,000 and sentenced to 15 months in prison today for an immigration fraud scheme that derailed his political and legal careers.

Defense attorney Joel Schwartz said the crime had cost his 34-year-old client the two things he cherished the most.

"The common thread of those who know him is that he did what he could to help others," Schwartz told U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton. "But that got him into trouble."

Schwartz insisted that Cooper was well-intentioned, but Assistant U.S. Attorney James Crowe Jr. said both Cooper and his scheme to deceive the state of Missouri and the federal government were "sophisticated."

Afterward, outside the court room, Crowe told reporters "the most significant part of the sentence is that a public official and a practicing lawyer is going to go to jail. Nathan Cooper is going to jail."

Cooper, barely audible before the judge, apologized for disappointing his friends and constituents, and said he'd live with his crime "for the rest of my life."

Outside the courtroom, he embraced many of his supporters and wept in their arms. He refused to talk to reporters. Hamilton said she'd received a number of letters on Cooper's behalf.

The Cape Girardeau Republican pleaded guilty in August to one count each of visa fraud and making a false statement to the Department of Labor.

Cooper, who specialized in immigration law as an attorney, made the false statement as part of an illegal scheme to obtain temporary worker visas for his clients in the trucking business.

Cooper admitted he applied for visas for fraudulent shell companies and issued bogus letters about the immigration status of his clients' workers in the trucking industry. He also admitted to buying visas from others for illegal transfer to his clients' workers.

Schwartz has said that in trying to help clients, Cooper crossed a line he shouldn't have crossed.

Prosecutors said Cooper developed a scheme to persuade the government to issue improper visas to trucking industry clients that had chronic shortages of workers. In 2004 and 2005 alone, Cooper took in at least $50,000 in legal fees from his trucking industry clients using those techniques, prosecutors have said.

Cooper agreed to forfeit the illegal proceeds and stop representing employers seeking such visas. Schwartz said he made the payment Monday.

Cooper is expected to start serving his time in six to eight weeks. He's asked to be sent to the federal prison in Marion, Ill., but his placement hasn't been decided. After serving his time, Cooper will be on two years of supervised release.

He faced up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. He had been free on bond. Schwartz asked that Cooper be allowed to voluntarily surrender to federal authorities.

He resigned his Missouri House seat and surrendered his law license in August because of his legal troubles.

A special election on Feb. 5 will decide who will fill the remainder of Cooper's term.

Cooper won a three-way Republican primary in August 2004 and then won the general election without any Democratic opposition. He was re-elected two years ago with 62 percent of the vote.


6-16-07 Mailed in I-129F

6-26--07 NOA1

7-03-07 touched?

10-29-07 TOUCHED!! And Later in the day-APPROVED!!! (found out on line on the 30th)

11-06-07 received NOA2 in the mail

12-10-07 NVC received

12-12-07 Left NVC

01-14-08 USC received packet 3 in the mail

01-21-08 Fiancee received packet 3 in the mail

02-13-08 VISA ISSUED

02-27-08 Fiancee entered the country

03-20-08 Married! (First Day of Spring)


03-29-08 Mailed in AOS, AP & EAD Application

04-04-08 NOAs for AOS, AP & EAD (arrived in mail APR 7)

4-11-08 letter for biometrics arrived in the mail

4-22-08 Biometrics

5-30-08 EAD and AP approved

06-06-2008 AP arrived in the mail

06-07-2008 EAD arrived in the mail

06-12-2008 AOS Approved

06-19-2008 Greencard in hand

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Have fun in jail.

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies."

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006


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