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Five Indians charged for staging fake robberies to qualify for U-visas

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

Chicago, IL, May 19, 2024: In a novel attempt to obtain U.S. visas, six individuals, five of them Indians, have been charged with allegedly staging fake armed robberies in Chicago and nearby suburbs.

Bhikhabhai Patel, 51, from Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Nilesh Patel, 32, from Jackson, Tennessee; Ravinaben Patel, 23, from Racine, Wisconsin; and Rajnikumar Patel, 32, from Jacksonville, Florida, allegedly pretended to be victims in staged robberies to apply for U-visas. These visas are intended for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and have been or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement.

Parth Nayi, 26, from Woodridge, Illinois, and Kewon Young, 31, from Mansfield, Ohio, are accused of organizing and taking part in these fake robberies. The alleged crimes took place at various locations including restaurants, coffee shops, liquor stores, and gas stations in Chicago and suburbs such as Lombard, Elmwood Park, and St. Charles. The staged robberies also extended to Rayne, Louisiana, and Belvidere, Tennessee.

According to the indictment, individuals paid Nayi thousands of dollars to be part of this scam. During the staged incidents, fake robbers used what appeared to be guns to demand money and property from the supposed victims. After these staged events, some of the so-called victims submitted forms to local law enforcement to certify that they were crime victims and had helped with investigations. With these certifications, they then filed fraudulent U-visa applications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The accused face serious charges. Nayi, Young, Bhikhabhai Patel, Nilesh Patel, Ravinaben Patel, and Rajnikumar Patel are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. Additionally, Ravinaben Patel faces a separate charge of making a false statement in a visa application, which can lead to up to ten years in prison.

The indictment was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, along with FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Sean Fitzgerald. The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew D. Moyer and Saqib M. Hussain.

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