• July 25, 2024

Prosecutors Charge 6 With Faking Robberies to Get U.S. Visas for ‘Victims’

(Brett Rowland, The Center Square) – Federal prosecutors have charged six people with staging armed robberies to help purported victims get U.S. immigration visas reserved for crime victims.

Prosecutors said Parth Nayi, a 26-year-old from Woodridge, Illinois, and Kewon Young, a 31-year-old from Mansfield, Ohio, allegedly organized the scheme from July 2022 through January.

Prosecutors said they participated in staged armed robberies at restaurants, coffee shops, liquor stores, and gas stations in Chicago and the suburbs of Lombard, Elmwood Park, St. Charles, Hickory Hills, River Grove, Lake Villa, and South Holland, and restaurants in Rayne, La., and Belvidere, Tenn.

The indictment alleges four people paid Nayi thousands of dollars to be purported victims. The four charged were Bhikhabhai Patel, Nilesh Patel, Ravinaben Patel, and Rajnikumar Patel. The arrangement was so that they could submit applications for U nonimmigrant status. Such “U-visas” are set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in an investigation or prosecution, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that the purported victims paid Nayi thousands of dollars to participate in the scam.

During the staged robberies, prosecutors said people acting as robbers brandished what appeared to be firearms, approached the purported victims, and demanded money and property.

“At the direction of Nayi and Young, the individuals acting as robbers, on certain occasions, struck purported victims to make the staged robbery appear real,” the indictment stated. “The individuals acting as robbers took items from the purported victims and fled the scene.”

Prosecutors said Nayi and Young recruited others to pose as robbers during the staged robberies and provided directions to those people. They also arranged times and places with the purported victims. Nayi and Young paid the pretend robbers with cash from the purported victims, according to the indictment.

Afterward, some of the purported victims submitted forms to local law enforcement to obtain certification that they were victims of a qualifying crime and had been or would be helpful in the investigation, according to the indictment. After getting certification, some of the purported victims then submitted fraudulent U-visa applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Nayi, 26, of Woodridge, Ill., Young, 31, of Mansfield, Ohio, Bhikhabhai Patel, 51, of Elizabethtown, Ky., Nilesh Patel, 32, of Jackson, Tenn., Ravinaben Patel, 23, of Racine, Wis., and Rajnikumar Patel, 32, of Jacksonville, Fla., were charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

Ravinaben Patel also was charged with a count of making a false statement in a visa application.

The conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. The false statement charge is punishable by up to ten years.

Prosecutors from the Northern District of Illinois charged a Chicago immigration attorney in 2023 with helping clients file immigration forms filled with sham marriages, fake jobs and false accusations of domestic abuse.

Source

The Daily Allegiant