Judge eyes heavy sentence in visa fraud, delays decision

Ivory Lee Harris

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A federal judge is delaying sentencing for a former Jackson police officer, saying he may send Ivory Lee Harris to prison for longer than the recommended sentence.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate was scheduled to sentence Harris Monday. He pleaded guilty in October to preparing false police reports that people used to seek special visas allowing crime victims to remain in the United States.

Federal sentencing guidelines suggest a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months for conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Wingate says he’s “inclined” to sentence Harris to as long as five years, the legal maximum. Judges can choose to go above or below guidelines.

Wingate says Harris signed multiple fraudulent documents, and says guidelines may not capture his conduct’s severity.

Sentencing is now scheduled January 18.

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