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British National Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Visa Fraud

WASHINGTON – Michael J. Leggett, 52, a citizen of the United Kingdom residing in St. Cloud, Fla., has pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with two counts of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney James R. Klindt for the Middle District of Florida announced today.

Leggett pleaded guilty before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Karla R. Spalding to two counts of conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Leggett faces a maximum sentence on each count of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. In addition, Leggett has agreed to pay restitution to the victims. He is also subject to removal from the United States as a result of his conviction.

The criminal information, filed on July 30, 2007, charges Leggett with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud based on fraudulent applications Leggett filed to obtain U.S. visas and lawful permanent residence for himself, and a second count based on Leggett’s efforts to obtain U.S. visas for U.K. citizens seeking to reside in Florida.

As part of his plea agreement, Leggett admitted to submitting fraudulent documentation in support of his own applications for U.S. visas and lawful permanent residence, including a false lease for a then non-existent U.S. company, altered advertisements for a failed U.K. company, and an altered incorporation document for the same U.K. company. Leggett further admitted to filing at least 12 fraudulent investor visa applications on behalf of other U.K. citizens who were clients of Royal Development, a Florida company Leggett controlled. Royal Development misled U.K. clients with claims of providing a lawful means of residing in the United States as corporate investors, but under Leggett’s direction resorted to fraud in many instances when the proposed investments failed.

The case was investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service of the Department of State and prosecuted by Trial Attorney Nancy Oliver of the Domestic Security Section of the Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Hinshelwood for the Middle District of Florida.