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AZ man appealing convictions tied to immigrant adoption scam

An Arizona man is appealing mail fraud convictions which led to a prison sentence that is roughly half of what federal prosecutors in Nevada told a judge he deserved.

Court records say Douglas Lee Thayer ripped off immigrants with bogus promises of citizenship through adoption.

A federal judge in Las Vegas recently sentenced Thayer to almost six years in prison. Prosecutors wanted double based on what they wrote has been a lifetime of crime, such as armed robbery, attempted murder and rape.

Thayer is 70 years old and lived near Bullhead City. He reportedly made at least $1.1 million from dozens of mostly Asian immigrants who were targeted because they spoke little or no English.

Thayer’s company was called U.S. Adult Adoption Services, which promised to find U.S. families for immigrants to join. Adult adoption is not a way to become a U.S. citizen.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.