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Armed Robberies Staged to Acquire Visas

Compiled/ partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/ partly written by Melvin Durai
February 2024
Armed Robberies Staged to Acquire Visas

Two New York men, Rambhai Patel, 36, and Balwinder Singh, 39, were recently arrested in connection to armed robberies that they committed. But their alleged motive wasn’t to get money—it was to get visas for their purported victims.

The men were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

According to the charging documents, starting in March 2023, Patel and his co-conspirators, including at times Singh, carried out at least eight staged armed robberies at convenience/liquor stores and fast-food restaurants across the United States, including at least four in Massachusetts.

The alleged motive was to allow the clerks present to claim that they were victims of a violent crime and apply for U nonimmigration status (U Visa). A U Visa is available to victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and who have been helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.

In the course of the alleged staged robberies, the “robber” would threaten store clerks and/or owners with an apparent firearm before taking cash from the register and fleeing, while the “robbery” was captured on surveillance video. The clerks and/or owners would wait five or more minutes until the “robber” had escaped before calling police to report the “crime.”

The “victims” are alleged to have each paid Patel to participate in the scheme. In turn, Patel allegedly paid the store owners for the use of their stores for the staged robbery.

More of ChaiTime here: 


Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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