NYC Pair Allegedly Orchestrated Fake Robberies For Immigration Benefits

Law enforcement recently arrested two men from New York City for allegedly masterminding several fake armed robberies at convenience stores to receive immigration benefits.

The two men from the Big Apple, identified as Rambhai Patel, 36, and Baldwinder Singh, 29, were arrested for staging armed robberies at convenience stores across the U.S.

The Daily Voice reported that the stores involved with the fake robberies are Richdale Food Shops, Jimmy’s Market & Liquors, Austin’s Liquor, Yogi’s Liquors and Michael’s Wine & Spirits in Massachusetts, A1 Smoke Shop as well as SK’s Quick Shop in Pennsylvania, a Subway in Kentucky and Kingspoint Shell Gas Station in Tennessee.

On Dec. 13, 2023, the pair were arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud for their alleged crimes, thereby enabling the “victims” to sign up for special immigration visas, according to One America News (OAN).

Federal prosecutors alleged that Patel and Singh orchestrated “at least eight” of the alleged fake robberies, which consisted of a “robber” threatening a store clerk with what seems to be a handgun before pulling money out of the register in front of a surveillance camera.

Such an alleged scheme began in March 2023, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that the alleged fake robberies involved the store clerks to wait “five minutes or longer” to report the “crime” to law enforcement.

The scheme reportedly involved the store clerks, described as “victims,” paying Patel to partake in the fake robberies, with Patel paying the store owners to use their shops for the pranks.

The staged robberies were conducted to provide the store clerks with the chance to apply for a special “U visa,” enabling immigrants to remain in the U.S. for an additional four years if they’ve been physically or mentally harmed.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) states that the U visa is set aside for victims of crimes who are willing to aid law enforcement in the prosecution or investigation of criminal activity.

Singh, who was arrested in Queens, New York, recently appeared in a Boston federal court, while Patel, who was detained in Seattle, Washington, is being held in custody and awaits his trial in the New England city. The pair could be fined up to $250,000 and receive five years in prison if found guilty of their alleged crimes.