Wagswoofs – Two individuals have been taken into custody for reportedly orchestrating armed robberies at four establishments in Massachusetts. The purpose behind these staged incidents was to enable the “victims” to apply for immigration benefits.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged two individuals from New York, namely Rambhai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39, with conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Both individuals were arrested on December 13.
Court documents reveal that Patel and his co-conspirators, including Singh, meticulously orchestrated a series of staged armed robberies at various establishments. These targeted locations included convenience stores, liquor stores, and restaurants within the county, with a significant focus on four establishments situated in Massachusetts. The planning and execution of these criminal acts commenced in March 2023.
The alleged staged robberies were reportedly carried out with the intention of enabling the clerks on duty during the incidents to falsely claim they were victims of a violent crime. By doing so, these individuals could then apply for a U nonimmigration status, commonly referred to as a U Visa.
“A U Visa is an option for victims of specific crimes who have experienced physical or mental abuse and have provided assistance to law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting criminal activities,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office explained.
In these orchestrated armed robberies, the suspect reportedly used a firearm to intimidate store clerks and owners, compelling them to surrender cash from the registers. The entire incident was captured on surveillance cameras. After the suspects departed, the clerks would wait for approximately five minutes before reporting the crime to the police.
According to reports, Patel is accused of orchestrating these staged robberies by allegedly receiving payment from the so-called “victims” involved. Additionally, there are claims that Patel would sometimes compensate store owners in exchange for using their establishments to carry out these fraudulent acts.