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Cooper must report to prison Jan. 24

Friday, January 11, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY -- Former state representative Nathan Cooper must report to federal prison Jan. 24, said Jim Crowe, the assistant federal prosecutor who prosecuted him for immigration fraud.

Cooper, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison Dec. 10, will be housed at the minimum-security prison camp for male offenders adjacent to the federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill., Crowe said Thursday. Cooper, through attorney Joel Schwartz, had asked for assignment to that prison during the sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton.

The six-week period from the sentencing to the reporting date is normal for nonviolent offenders, Crowe said.

Cooper pleaded guilty in August to two counts of immigration fraud arising from his legal work for two trucking companies, Pullen Bros. of Sikeston, Mo., and Cal-Ark Trucking of Little Rock, Ark. Cooper admitted arranging temporary worker visas for foreign drivers, mainly from Australia and New Zealand, to work on a seasonal basis for the companies.

Cooper admitted setting up shell companies to hide the drivers' true employers, purchasing documents intended for seasonal workers in the hospitality industry and writing letters claiming that the drivers' immigration paperwork was being processed and it was legal for them to work.