OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
4:28 PM – Monday, January 1, 2024
Two men from New York City carried out multiple fake armed robberies at convenience stores and fast food establishments across the United States in order to obtain immigration benefits, according to federal prosecutors.
On Friday, federal prosecutors announced that two men from NYC, identified as Rambhai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39, staged fake armed robberies at several convenience stores and fast food joints across the nation.
On December 13th, Patel and Singh were both arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud for their alleged scheme, which enabled the “victims” of their thefts to sign up for special immigration visas.
Federal prosecutors stated that Patel and Singh were responsible for “at least eight” of the alleged fake robberies.
These incidents consisted of a “robber” threatening a store clerk with what appeared to be a firearm before stealing cash from the register in front of the surveillance camera in the store.
Prosecutors also said that the scheme initially began back in March 2023.
They described that the scheme required store clerks to wait “five minutes or longer” after the robber made their escape before reporting the “crime” to the police.
The “victims” of the alleged robberies each gave money to Patel so that he would partake in the phony pranks, while Patel had paid the owners of each store to use their shops for the staged robberies. The store’s clerks or owners were all allegedly involved in the plans.
The staged robberies were carried out in order to give the store clerks the opportunity to apply for a special “U visa,” which enables immigrants to remain in the U.S. for four additional years if they have been “subjected to mental or physical abuse.”
The Center For Immigration Studies (CIS) claims that the U visa is meant to “ostensibly aid in the prosecution of crimes.”
Singh, who was detained in Queens, appeared in a Boston federal court.
Meanwhile, Patel, who was apprehended in Seattle and mandated to be held in custody until trial, is anticipated to be confronted with federal prosecutors in Boston at a future date, according to prosecutors.
The two men could receive a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison if convicted.
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