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  • KLFY News 10

    DOJ says 2023 ‘robbery’ in Rayne part of multi-state immigration fraud scheme

    By Scott Yoshonis,

    29 days ago

    RAYNE, La. ( KLFY ) — An apparent armed robbery at a Subway restaurant in Rayne in 2023 was part of a multi-state visa fraud scheme, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office .

    An indictment unsealed in federal court in Chicago showed Parth Nayi, 26, of Woodridge, Ill., Kewon Young, 31, of Mansfield, Ohio, Bhikhabhai Patel, 51, of Elizabethtown, Ky., Nilesh Patel, 32, of Jackson, Tenn., Ravinaben Patel, 23, of Racine, Wis., and Rajnikumar Patel, 32, of Jacksonville, Fla., are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

    The indictment alleges that individuals paid Nayi thousands of dollars to participate in the scam.  During the staged robberies, individuals acting as robbers brandished what appeared to be firearms, approached the purported victims and demanded money and property, the indictment states.

    Young was arrested on a warrant from the Rayne Police Department stemming from an incident on May 13, 2023 at the Subway in Rayne, one of the alleged staged robberies, according to Rayne Police Chief Carroll Stelly.

    “Rayne detectives worked with federal investigators across the country to build cases against those involved in the alleged fraud,” Stelly said, in a post on Rayne PD’s Facebook page. “As a result, six individuals were indicted on Friday, May 17, 2024, in connection with this scheme against the U.S. government and more arrests are expected in the near future.”


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    Several other such “robberies” were staged in Illinois and Tennessee, prosecutors said.

    Those posing as victims allegedly staged the robberies so that they could submit applications for U nonimmigrant status (“U-visa”), which is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in an investigation or prosecution.

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    Afterwards, some of the purported victims submitted forms to local law enforcement to obtain certification that they were victims of a qualifying crime and had been or would be helpful in the investigation, the indictment states. Upon receiving certification, some of the purported victims then submitted fraudulent U-visa applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services predicated upon their alleged status as a robbery victim, authorities said.

    Ravinaben Patel is also charged with an individual count of making a false statement in a visa application. The conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, while the false statement charge against Ravinaben Patel is punishable by up to ten years.

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