Robberies Staged So Immigrant ‘Victims’ Could Get Visas, DOJ Charges

Craig Bannister | May 20, 2024

Six individuals conspired to stage armed robberies, so that fake “victims” could apply for a special type of immigration visa, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court in Chicago.

“PARTH NAYI and KEWON YOUNG allegedly organized and participated in staged armed robberies at restaurants, coffee shops, liquor stores, and gas stations in the Chicago area, as well as in Louisiana and Tennessee,” the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on Friday.

Four others are charged with paying thousands of dollars to be “victims” of the robberies, in a scheme to obtain special “U-visas” available to crime victims:

“The indictment alleges that BHIKHABHAI PATEL, NILESH PATEL, RAVINABEN PATEL, and RAJNIKUMAR PATEL arranged with Nayi to be “victims” of the staged 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.

“The indictment alleges that individuals paid Nayi thousands of dollars to participate in the scam.”

The scam involved a three-step process, the indictment alleges:

  1. During the staged robberies, individuals acting as robbers brandished what appeared to be firearms, approached the purported victims, and demanded money and property.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


One of the fake robberies happened in July of last year and had real consequences,” Chicago’s CBS 2 News reports:

“A 26-year-old clerk was shot during a robbery at Bucktown Food & Liquor, 1950 N. Milwaukee Ave. The owner said at the time that he was stunned by the dramatic robbery.

“The surveillance video showed two masked men all in black walking in. The clerk and the customers in the store handed over their wallets and belongings – only for the robber to start firing anyway.”

All six defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. Ravinaben Patel is also charged with an individual count of making a false statement in a visa application, which carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison.