New York (Uttam Hindu News): The federal grand jury in Boston has indicted two people of Indian origin on charges of visa fraud in the US state of Massachusetts.
36-year-old Rambhai Patel and 39-year-old Balwinder Singh of New York carried out this incident.
Both were convicted last week of one count each of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Patel was arrested in Seattle on December 13, 2023, and after an initial appearance in the Western District of Washington, he was ordered detained until trial.
Singh was also arrested the same day in Queens and his initial appearance was in the Eastern District of New York.
According to charging documents, beginning in March 2023, Patel and his co-conspirators, who sometimes included Singh, carried out the crimes.
These took place at eight locations/liquor stores and fast food restaurants across the United States, including at least four in Massachusetts.
It is alleged that the purpose of the raid was to allow attending clerks to claim that they were the victims of a violent crime on an application for U non-immigration status (U visa).
U visas are available to victims of certain crimes, who have suffered mental or physical abuse and who have been helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
During the incident, “the accused threatened store clerks/or owners with a gun before taking cash from the register and fleeing, but the incident was captured on video.
The victims are alleged to have paid Patel to participate in the scheme. In return, Patel allegedly paid the store owners for the use of their stores for the crime.
An alleged victim reportedly paid $20 thousand to participate as a victim in one of the armed incidents.
It is alleged that at least two alleged victim co-conspirators submitted U visa applications on the basis of being victims of armed robberies.
The charge of conspiracy to commit visa fraud carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.