Diversity Is Our Strength: "Hundreds Paid To Be ‘Robbed’ By Phony Holdup Crews To Gain Favorable Immigration"
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From the invaluable Crime Watch Boystown Chicago website:

Hundreds paid to be ‘robbed’ by phony holdup crews to gain favorable immigration status, feds say. (The ‘robbers’ accidentally shot someone during one caper)

May 19, 2024 7:20 PM Tim Hecke Bucktown, Citywide

CHICAGO — Federal prosecutors on Friday announced charges against five people in connection with a Chicago-based scheme that staged armed robberies so the purported victims could apply for U.S. immigration visas reserved for legitimate crime victims.

CWBChicago had been working behind the scenes on the story, but withheld publication until charges were announced at the request of our sources. Now, we can tell you the incredible details.

Officials believe hundreds of people, including some who traveled from out of town, posed as customers in dozens of businesses across Chicago and elsewhere, all hoping to win favorable immigration status by becoming “victims” of pre-arranged “armed robberies.”

During a staged hold-up in Bucktown last year, one of the “robbers” accidentally fired their gun, severely injuring a liquor store clerk, according to one source. During that caper alone, five “customers” were “robbed.”


The staged robbery crew operated professionally, we are told. They used stolen cars and sometimes outfitted them with plates taken from other cars, for example. They had a second getaway car on standby. There were obvious signs of advanced planning and know-how.

But cops started to get suspicious. Why would four or five seasoned armed robbers go through all of that trouble for robberies that netted them virtually no cash? Most victims had only a few dollars with them, and the stores generally lost less than $100. Why were robbery victims going to stores to buy something without taking enough cash or a credit card?

Yet, despite the low return on their investment, the robbers kept working—two or three nights a week for at least two years, an investigative source believes.

The police finally caught a break when they arrested one of the fake robbery teams. All of the members were juveniles, and almost none of them had histories of committing serious crimes. They were also more than happy to tell the police that the robberies were staged, that the victims were in on it, but they didn’t know why.

Federal prosecutors said on Friday that each purported “victim” paid “thousands of dollars” for the privilege of being robbed at gunpoint. Ringleaders then instructed the “victims” to be at a certain location at a specific time to be “robbed.”

Ultimately, state prosecutors either dropped charges or decided against filing charges against the “robbers,” two sources said. After all, was it really a robbery if the victim asked them to do it?

It didn’t matter that the teens typically netted only a few dollars from the “customers” and maybe a little more from the store cash drawer. Cash payments from the scheme’s organizers supplemented their income, officials say.

Federal prosecutors said the “robbers” occasionally hit their victims, hoping to give the robberies an air of legitimacy. …

After the robberies, the “victims” went to their local police departments to secure documentation that they were the victims of a crime that qualified them to apply for a “U-visa.” That’s an immigration status reserved 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,” federal officials explained Friday. Some relatives of U-visa recipients also qualify for special status. In time, U-visa recipients may qualify for permanent residency.

… The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago filed charges against only six people Friday, including the alleged ringleaders, Parth Nayi, 26 of Woodridge, and Kewon Young, 31, of Mansfield, Ohio. We’re told investigators believe Nayi and Young met while working together at a Subway restaurant. Nayi allegedly recruited interested immigrants, while Young managed the “robbery” crews. …

The men are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud along with four others: Bhikhabhai Patel, 51, of Elizabethtown, KY; Nilesh Patel, 32, of Jackson, TN; Ravinaben Patel, 23, of Racine, WI; and Rajnikumar Patel, 32, of Jacksonville, FL. Ravinaben Patel is also charged with making a false statement in a visa application.

A source stated that hundreds of additional “victims” involved in the “robberies,” many from out of state, are unlikely to face federal charges. They said officials had identified more than 100 people who “benefitted” from being robbed, with most being of Latin and South American origin.

The federal complaint identified 17 specific “robberies” for charging purposes: …

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