US authorities have charged several Indians and Indian-Americans in a U-visa and marriage fraud case. According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations – New Orleans Field Office, several Indians have been charged for entering into fraudulent marriages with American citizens for the purpose of entering the country.
Some of them have also been charged for applying for a special kind of U-visa that is only given to victims of some specific crimes or to people who have helped law enforcement officials in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime.
People charged under the U-visa fraud are Sachin Girishkumar Patel, Tarunkumar Purushottambhai Patel, Simpson Lloyd Goodman, Ivory Lee Harris, Sanjay Rathilal Patel, Maheshkumar Mangaldas Patel, Ashaben Mukeshbhai Patel, Rajan Nareshkumar Patel, Gopaldas Khodabhai Patel, Sachin Khodidas Patel and Baldevbhai Ramabhai Patel.
Those indicted under marriage fraud are Sachin Girishkumar Patel, Tarunkumar Purushottambhai Patel, Simpson Lloyd Goodman, Chirag Nilesh Patel, Dana Cheetara Adams, Brandy Nicole Edwards, Terilynn Rankin, Sejal Sanjay Kakadia, Jayantibhai Kalidas Chaudhari, Virendra Rambachan Rajput, and Javona Shanice Rajput.
"These marriages were not entered into because of mutual love and affection between the parties, but solely to create a legal status that would provide a basis for immigration status for the alien partner and usually for some economic benefit to the United States citizen," the Department of Justice said, according to a PTI report.
"The defendants allegedly circumvented the laws and submitted fraudulent documents that are critical to obtaining immigration status," US Attorney Gregory K Davis said in a statement, adding: "These arrests were made as a result of the great work of our law enforcement partners who stopped 19 people who sought to undermine the integrity of our nation's immigration system."
"Immigration fraud poses a significant threat to national security by allowing individuals to enter or remain in the United States under false pretenses with unknown intentions," Raymond R Parmer Jr, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans, said in a statement.
He added, "The alleged involvement of attorneys and law enforcement officers in this particular scheme is particularly troubling, and shows that HSI will investigate and hold accountable those who violate our nation's laws regardless of their position in society."
According to US laws, conspiracy to commit fraud and misuse visa permits could fetch a five-year jail term and $250,000 (£172,306) fine per count; for fraud and misuse of visa permits – 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count; mail fraud – 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count; and for wire fraud – 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.