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2 NYC men charged with staging ‘at least 8’ bogus armed robberies all over the country for immigration perks

Two New York City men staged armed robberies at convenience stores and fast food joints across the United States to scheme immigration benefits, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Rambhai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39, were arrested on Dec. 13 and both charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud for their alleged plot, which allowed the “victims” of their robberies to apply for special immigration visas, Massachusetts prosecutors said.

According to federal prosecutors, Patel and Singh orchestrated “at least eight” of the alleged staged robberies – which involved a “robber” threatening a store clerk with an apparent firearm before snatching cash from the register in front of a store’s surveillance camera.

The scheme, which began in March 2023, had the store clerks wait five or more minutes until the robber made their escape before calling the police to report the crime, prosecutors said.


Convenience store surveillance footage of an apparently phony armed robbery scheme designed to get immigrant store clerks a special "U visa," which would allow them to remain in the country for four years.
Prosecutors said Patel and Singh staged phony armed robberies in order to make store clerks eligible for a special “U visa” that allows immigrant crime victims to stay in the country for four years. Hingham Police

The “victims” of the alleged robberies each paid Patel to participate in the phony antics – while Patel paid the store owners to use their shops for the staged robberies, according to prosecutors. 

The purpose of the staged robberies was to enable the store clerks to apply for a special “U visa” – which allows immigrants who’ve been mentally or physically abused and help prosecute criminals to stay in the country for four years.


Convenience store surveillance footage of an apparently phony armed robbery scheme designed to get immigrant store clerks a special "U visa," which would allow them to remain in the country for four years.
The “victims” of the alleged robberies allegedly paid Patel to fake the thefts, who in turn paid the clerks to use their stores for the scheme. Hingham Police

Singh, who was arrested in Queens, appeared before a Judge in Boston federal court – while Patel, who was arrested in Seattle and ordered detained pending trial, is expected to face federal prosecutors in Boston at a later date, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, both defendants face up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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