Man indicted for immigration conspiracy

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 20, 2016

NATCHEZ — A man currently incarcerated in Adams County has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in a conspiracy to commit immigration visa fraud.

Rajan Nareshkumar Patel, 31, was one of 12 people in six states — and one of four in Mississippi — charged with the alleged conspiracy.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney’s office said attorney Simpson Lloyd Goodman was alleged to have submitted fraudulent documents — including falsified police reports allegedly prepared by a Jackson police officer, Ivory Lee Harris — to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service along with U-visa applications.

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To be eligible for a U-visa, the applicant must have been a victim of certain crimes, have suffered mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime and helped law enforcement officials in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

The U.S. Attorney’s office alleged that other defendants in the case “engaged in and caused various acts which enabled defendants to attempt to obtain U-visas.”

“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,” said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations — New Orleans. “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.”

The maximum penalties for the crimes charged in the indictments are five years in prison and $250,000 fine per count of conspiracy to commit fraud and misuse of visa permits; 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count for fraud and misuse of visa permits; 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count for mail fraud; and 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud.