Missouri lawmaker faces prison, fines for trucker visa fraud

| 9/6/2007

Sentencing has been set for Oct. 19 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri for a state lawmaker who illegally obtained work visas for hundreds of New Zealand immigrants so they could drive for trucking companies in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Reap said that state Rep. Nathan Cooper, R-Cape Girardeau, now faces up to 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Cooper pleaded guilty in August.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis, Cooper fraudulently obtained H2B temporary visas for a number of trucking companies that were his clients. Cooper is an immigration attorney as well as state lawmaker.

According to news sources, Cooper, who is free on bond, recently asked for his passport to be returned and if he could take a business trip to the Philippines. The U.S. Attorney’s Office told him no.