Designed to protect victims, the little talked about U visa is also an opportunity for fraud. The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) was established for immigrants who have suffered from mental or physical abuse as a result of a qualifying crime. Selected by the government, those qualifying crimes activities include abduction, felonious assault, murder to name a few. Created in October 2000 under the umbrella of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, the underlying benefit of the U visa, is that it is helpful to U.S. law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Let’s keep the witness nearby instead of deporting them.
Those granted a U visa obtain lawful status for four years, the ability to work lawfully in the United States and an accelerated eligibility for permanent residence. A Fastpass for green cards! Rambhai Patel and Balwinder Singh saw opportunity. This pair of fraudsters created the ultimate in visa fraud by staging fake robberies in real stores. Patel and Singh orchestrated at least eight alleged staged robberies, which involved a hired “robber” who would threaten the store clerk with an apparent firearm before snatching cash from the register in front of a store’s surveillance camera. Traumatic.
The scheme had the store clerks wait five or more minutes until the robber made their escape before calling the police to report the crime. Basically, Patel and Singh engaged in one street crime to create another crime, a fraudulent claim for a U Visa. The “victims” of the alleged robberies each paid Patel to participate in the phony antics – while Patel paid the store owners to use their shops for the staged robberies. Didn’t take long to figure out who the real criminals were in these store robberies. Patel and Singh were arrested on December 13, 2023.
Outstanding job by the F.B.I with this investigation.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Two New York men accused of staging fake robberies in Massachusetts, other states, to get immigrants visas” published by the Fall River Reporter on January 1, 2023
BOSTON – Two New York men have been arrested on charges related to visa fraud. According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, Rambhai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39, were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
Patel was arrested in Seattle on Dec. 13, 2023, and, following an initial appearance in the Western District of Washington, was ordered detained pending trial. Singh was arrested in Queens, N.Y. on Dec. 13, 2023, and had his initial appearance in the Eastern District of New York. Singh appeared in federal court in Boston yesterday afternoon. Patel is expected to appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.