Two men from New York City accused of orchestrating multiple fake armed robberies across the country to exploit immigration benefits

Federal prosecutors have revealed that two men from New York City orchestrated a series of armed robberies at convenience stores and fast food establishments throughout the United States as part of a scheme to obtain immigration benefits.

Rambhai Patel, aged 36, and Balwinder Singh, aged 39, were apprehended on December 13th and are now facing charges for one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud. The Massachusetts prosecutors revealed that the duo devised a scheme that enabled the individuals they robbed to apply for special immigration visas.

Federal prosecutors claim that Patel and Singh were the masterminds behind a series of staged robberies. These incidents involved a supposed robber brandishing a firearm and intimidating a store clerk, while the act was captured on the store’s surveillance camera. In total, at least eight of these orchestrated incidents took place.

According to prosecutors, the scheme, implemented in March 2023, involved store clerks intentionally waiting for five or more minutes after a robbery before reporting it to the police.


According to prosecutors, the individuals involved in the supposed robberies willingly paid Patel to partake in the staged events. In turn, Patel compensated the store owners for allowing the simulated robberies to take place on their premises.

The staged robberies were orchestrated to help store clerks apply for a special “U visa.” This visa is designed for immigrants who have experienced mental or physical abuse and have assisted in prosecuting criminals. With the U visa, these individuals can remain in the country for a period of four years.

Singh, who was arrested in Queens, appeared before a Judge in a Boston federal court. Meanwhile, 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 found guilty, both defendants could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and fined up to $250,000.

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