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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    MO: Cooper pleads guilty to immigration fraud

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    Cooper pleads guilty to immigration fraud
    Thursday, August 9, 2007
    By Rudi Keller ~ Southeast Missourian

    State Rep. Nathan Cooper pleaded guilty to immigration fraud Thursday morning and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation.
    One arrest, in Seattle, Wash., has already taken place as a result of information supplied by Cooper, said assistant U.S. attorney Jim Crowe. Cooper, 33, is a Cape Girardeau Republican in his second term in the Missouri House.

    Cooper said in a prepared statement that he would resign his political post.

    "The events of earlier today are about my overzealous representation of legal clients in regards to ensuring they had an adequate workforce. I deeply regret my actions and apologize to the people of Cape Girardeau for how my legal practice has impacted my ability to serve."

    Cooper, an immigration lawyer, waived indictment and entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of visa fraud and one count one felony count of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Cooper faces a fine of up to $500,000 and a 15-year prison sentence. Cooper surrendered $50,000 in legal fees he took from clients in the trucking industry to provide visas for seasonal workers in an industry that did not qualify for those visas.

    "He has agreed to cooperate," assistant U.S. attorney Jim Crowe said. "It does not have to do with anything about public corrupt, it is cooperating in the immigration investigation and last night we arrested an individual in Seattle, Wash., based on his information."

    The investigation of Cooper discovered that he set up companies to obtain temporary, seasonal worker visas for truck drivers.

    "Cooper developed a scheme to convince the government to issue improper visas and otherwise to impede the lawful operation of the H2B visa program in a number of ways," a release issued by the U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis said. "In the plea agreement, Cooper admitted to the fraudulent creation of shell companies in the name of which Cooper would apply for visa to be used for other companies, issuing bogus letters intended to deceive law enforcement as to the immigration status of his client's workers, and to the outright purchase of visas from other contracts to be illegally transferred to his client's workers."

    In one charge filed against Cooper alleged that, an application for a visa to hire a truck driver for Retail Trucking LLC, a company Cooper formed in 2004, stated that it was new employment, the employment was seasonal and the application was signed "Vernon Vercoe."

    The facts, the investigation showed, was that Retail Trucking was not an active business, that the driver would work for Pullen Bros. Inc. of Sikeston. Mo., and that Vernon Vercoe did not exist.

    In the other charge, Cooper was accused of seeking labor certification for 110 unnamed aliens for seasonal employment by Speedy Express LLC, a company he formed in 2004. In fact, the charges state, Speedy Express was not an active business, the work involved was year-round and no attempt was made to find U.S. workers.

    Cooper's attorney, Joel Schwarz, said in a prepared statement that Cooper's actions were not related to his official duties. "Nathan crossed the line in his representation of a small number of these clients and will abide by whatever sentence the court imposes."

    Area and state political leaders expressed surprise at the charges and plea.

    "It was news to me until yesterday or actually until last night," said Victor Gunn, Cooper's campaign treasurer. "I am quite shocked it happened. Nathan is a fine individual and apparently made a mistake and it sounds like he has owned up to it."

    After Cooper resigns from the House, political party committees from his district will select candidates for a special election. County Collector Diane Diebold, vice-chairwoman of the Cape Girardeau County Republican Party, said the news was a shock.

    "I figured him into one of my friends," she said. "I just saw him a couple of days ago and talked to him two or three times lately. Nobody I talked to so far had any knowledge of it and I still consider him a friend."

    Gov. Matt Blunt issued a statement praising the work of the U.S. attorney's office in the investigation of Cooper.

    "I strongly commend United States attorney Catherine Hanaway and her professional staff for highly committed and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws against immigration fraud," Blunt said in a prepared statement. "Because of Mr. Cooper's necessary resignation for serious criminal misconduct, I will take the appropriate steps to set a special election to ensure representation for the people of the district.

    "At the state level of enforcement, I will continue this administration's crackdown on illegal immigration, including any use of unlawful immigrants by state contractors," Blunt added.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    made a mistake???

    This man was selling out this country and it's people as surely as any other traitor.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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