It Had to Happen – Robberies Were Faked to Create Real Visas for ‘Crime Victims’

By David North on January 2, 2024

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

A pair of crooks, based in New York and operating in Massachusetts and elsewhere, have created the ultimate in visa fraud – they staged fake robberies of genuine retail establishments so that the clerks who were “robbed” could file for victim status and U nonimmigrant visas, and ultimately for green cards.

In short, they engaged in one street crime to create another crime, a fraudulent claim for a U Visa. The press release on their arrest was (presumably purposefully) vague as to whether or not a weapon was involved. It said:

In the course of the alleged staged robberies, the ‘robber’ would threaten the store clerks and/or store clerks with an apparent firearm [thus making it a violent crime] before taking cash from the register and fleeing.

The clerks in question then waited a few minutes, to give their co-conspirators a chance to escape, before calling the police. The store owners were allegedly in on the game, in at least some cases, and were paid off by the thieves.

The two men arrested were Ramghai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39; neither the PACER document I examined nor the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office provided information on their civil status. Patel is a Hindu name and Singh is a Sikh name; while majority Hindus and minority Sikhs do not always get along in India, that did not seem to be a problem in this case.

The U visa, for crime victims (and their families), makes little sense to me as a matter of public policy, and it has been over-used, to put it mildly. There is a limit of 10,000 a year to these visas being used to create green cards for victims and thousands more visas are handed out to family members and some even go to people who merely witnessed the crimes. A DHS report of four years ago showed 140,000 people wait-listed for green cards as victims. But if you have a U-1 nonimmigrant visa you are legally here until your green card comes through.

What Patel and Singh did was, among other things, to add to the growing visa backlog.

A PACER file for the case is 1:23-mj-01510-DLC-2 USA v. Patel, et al.