6 Charged in Fraud Scheme Accused of Staging Fake Robberies in Effort to Help ‘Victims’ Obtain US Visas

The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

A group of people is accused of staging fake robberies at various restaurants and businesses in and around Chicago in an effort to help make the purported “victims” eligible for U.S. visas.

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Bhikhabhai Patel, Nilesh Patel, Ravinaben Patel and Rajnikumar Patel are accused of paying Parth Nayi and Kewon Young to stage multiple robberies with the Patels posing as victims, because it would allow the Patels to apply for nonimmigrant status (known as a “U-visa”), which is set aside for the victims of certain crimes.

All six have now been charged in Chicago’s federal court with conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Ravinaben Patel is also charged with making a false statement in a visa application.

According to a federal indictment, the Patels paid Nayi thousands of dollars to participate in the scam.

Nayi and Young allegedly recruited and paid others to pose as robbers, who would brandish items that appeared to be firearms, approach the purported victims and demand their money and property.

“At the direction of Nayi and Young, the individuals acting as robbers, on certain occasions, struck purported victims to make the staged robbery appear real,” the indictment states. “The individuals acting as robbers took items from the purported victims and fled the scene.”

According to the indictment, after the “robberies,” the purported victims would submit specific forms to their local police departments and request that law enforcement certify they had indeed been the victim of a “qualifying crime.”

After receiving that certification, the purported victims would allegedly submit fraudulent U-visa applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services predicated upon their alleged status as a robbery victim.

Federal prosecutors said the staged robberies occurred between 2022 and 2023 at Subway restaurants, coffee shops, liquor stores and gas stations in Chicago as well as the suburbs of Lombard, Elmwood Park, St. Charles, Hickory Hills, River Grove, Lake Villa and South Holland. Other fake robberies were allegedly carried out at restaurants in Rayne, Louisiana, and Belvidere, Tennessee.

According to prosecutors, the conspiracy charges are punishable by up to five years in federal prison, while the false statement charge is punishable by up to 10 years.


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