Two Missouri men plead guilty to immigration form fraud

Friday, August 24, 2012 | 7:05 a.m. CDT; updated 11:27 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 24, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Two Missouri men await sentencing after pleading guilty in a scheme to sell government immigration documents that were publicly available for free.

Thomas Strawbridge, 49, and Thomas Laurence, 30, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. The charges were filed in connection with a former Sedalia-based company called Immigration Forms and Publications.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the company fraudulently told consumers it was affiliated with the government and that fees helped cover government processing charges. The company also allegedly told consumers that the forms it sold would be processed more quickly than if immigrants dealt directly with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Strawbridge and Laurence each face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Harold Sutton August 24, 2012 | 9:51 a.m.

A fine should be collected imediately. Restitution should be made to those who were here legally seeking a path to citizenship.

The fine should be only as a down payment and not "paid in full".
After all, they were taking in big bucks so they can also pay out big bucks.

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