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Sunday, August 19, 2007


State Rep. Nathan Cooper on Aug. 9 pleaded guilty to two federal felony charges for helping clients fraudulently obtain work visas for immigrant employees. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on Oct. 19

Cooper, R-Cape Girardeau, was first elected to the House in 2004. House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, last year named Cooper as “Freshman Legislator of the Year for Accountability in Government.” As part of his plea agreement, the Southeast Missouri lawmaker will resign his House seat and surrender his law license.

Federal prosecutors say Cooper collected more than $50,000 in legal fees for helping clients in the trucking industries fraudulently obtain work visas for foreign employees. In his plea agreement, Cooper admitted to applying for visas using bogus shell companies, deceiving federal officials about the immigration status of his clients’ employees and illegally transferring visas.

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