Indian Duo's Fake Robberies for U.S. Green Cards

Written on 01/17/2024
Asia91 Team

While more than a million Indian nationals in the U.S. found themselves in a decade-long Green Card backlog, two Indian origin in New York City staged robberies to help specific individuals obtain U-Visas and, eventually, U.S. Green Cards.


The goal of the fake robberies was to enable the "victims" to use the "crimes" as grounds for obtaining a U visa.


Acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Joshua Levy said that Rambhai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39, both are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Patel was arrested in Seattle, and Singh was arrested in Queens.


In June 2023, FBI Special Agent Jason Kentros started looking closely at multiple robberies across Massachusetts and found an interesting connection and pattern:


  • The individual who committed the robberies expended significant money traveling between states to target shops despite the relatively small amount of money obtained from each robbery.


  • Across all the incidents, the store clerks ensured the robbers had left the premises before dialing 911 to report the crimes.


  • In each of these occurrences, the store clerks applied for immigration benefits based on their eligibility for U visas.



According to what Levy said, Patel and some others were given money to pretend to rob stores like convenience stores, liquor shops, and fast-food places. They did this so that the store clerks could pretend they were victims of a violent crime. 


This fake victim story would help the clerks apply for a U Visa, given to people who have been through certain crimes and have helped the police.



Each victim paid Patel $10,000 to participate in the fake robberies and get certain legal documents. Patel knew the store owners, who agreed to use their stores for these fake robberies. Cooperating Witness 1, who was involved, knew that the store owners were completely aware of these staged robberies. Patel paid each store owner between $1,500 and $2,000 to use their store for this fake robbery.


While these staged robberies were happening, Patel would be in contact with either the store's owner or an employee, who would inform Patel when the store was vacant. Patel would then tell Cooperating Witness-1 to enter the store and simulate the robbery.


Source: Court document