Fake robberies for illegal immigrants: Six arrested in elaborate scheme to obtain visas reserved for crime victims

CHICAGO, IL - A series of robberies at liquor stores, gas stations, and fast-food restaurants throughout Chicago, Tennessee, and Louisiana were staged by six men in an elaborate scheme to illegally obtain immigration visas.

On Friday, a federal indictment was unsealed in Chicago outlining more than a dozen staged robberies, CBS reported. The indictment accuses the six men of attempting to obtain forms needed to qualify for a U-visa from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by “recruiting people to pose as robbers, and then filing false police reports.”

According the USCIS website, the U-visa, also known as the U nonimmigrant status visa, “is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.”

Charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud are: Parth Nayi, 26, of Woodridge, Illinois; Bhikhabhai Patel, 51, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Kewon Young, 31, of Mansfield, Ohio; Rajnikumar Patel, 32, of Jacksonville, Florida; Nilesh Patel, 32, of Jackson, Tennessee; and Ravinaben Patel, 23, of Racine, Wisconsin. Ravinaben Patel has an additional charge of making a false statement in a visa application.

The defendants charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud are facing up to five years in prison, while Ravinaben Patel is facing an additional sentence of up to 10 years in prison for his false statement charge.

According to the indictment, Nayi would tell the Patels where and when to arrive for the staged robberies. In return, Nayi received thousands of dollars from the Patels. According to federal prosecutors, the robberies were staged between July 2022 and January 2024. Nayi and Young would stage the robberies and then the other four men would pretend to be victims.

“During the fake robberies, people pretending to be robbers would brandish what appeared to be firearms, approach people pretending to be victims, and demand their money and belongings. The fake robbers would then take money and other belongings from the victims and flee the scene,” according to a CBS article.

Following the incidents, the pretend victims would fill out the appropriate forms to ask that police deem them crime victims in order to qualify for a U-visa.

In July of 2023, one of the staged robberies resulted in a 26-year-old liquor store clerk being shot. Two masked men can be seen walking into the store dressed in all black on surveillance cameras. Customers and the clerk gave the robbers their belongings, including their wallets, and one of the robbers fired anyway.

Xavier Borjas, an immigration attorney at Borjas Law Group, spoke of the defendants in this case saying, “[T]hey’ve undergone something pretty, pretty serious. It’s very disheartening, because there are so many people that unfortunately do qualify and have been victims of these crimes that you want to ensure hopefully, get some sort of some, some sort of relief."

There is no court information currently available for the defendants.
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