Most Recent Update: 8/24/12 (See end of document)
United States v. Thomas Strawbridge, Thomas Laurence, and Elizabeth Meredith
2/21/12 Update: On February 21, 2012, an indictment was unsealed in the Western District of Missouri charging Thomas Strawbridge, Thomas Laurence, and Elizabeth Meredith, all of Missouri, with conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud. The Indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators fraudulently told customers that their company, Immigration Forms and Publications (IFP), handled “overload” calls for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and would provide expert assistance in filling out government immigration forms. The defendants referred to their co-conspirators as “immigration agents” in calls with customers, the Indictment alleges, and said that money paid to IFP included government processing fees. The Indictment states that customers paid hundreds of dollars up front for forms the government provides at no charge, received little or no assistance, and eventually discovered that none of the government fees had been paid. Judge Nanette K. Laughrey will hear the case in Jefferson City, Missouri. The Court set an initial trial date of April 23, 2012.
Charges in an indictment are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. For more information, see the press release issued February 21, 2012.
3/29/12 Update: On March 29, 2012, at the request of defense counsel, the Court rescheduled trial in this matter to September 17, 2012.
On August 23, 2012, Thomas Joseph Strawbridge, 49, and Thomas Barret Laurence, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with Immigration Forms and Publications (IFP). On August 24, 2012, Elizabeth Lindsey Meredith, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud and seven counts of wire fraud for her involvement in the scheme. A sentencing date has not yet been set. For more information, see Department of Justice press releases dated August 23 and August 24.