Lock Haven man of Indian origin convicted of U-visa fraud


A Lock Haven man of Indian origin was convicted of multiple counts of visa fraud on Thursday, December 7. He has been found guilty of staging a robbery at a convenience store where he worked so that he could apply for a U-visa.

Vinaykumar Patel, age 33, a citizen of India, was convicted of multiple counts related to visa fraud and conspiracy following a three-day jury trial that concluded on December 6, 2023, informed the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Patel faces a maximum penalty of 25 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.

Patel was the manager of the Fuel-On convenience store in Lock Haven, PA, United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam said. Patel set his plan in motion by contacting his associate in New Jersey and asking him to hire someone to stage a robbery at the Fuel-On store in June 2019. After the plan was executed and the staged robbery occurred, the matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office.

After the incident, Patel used the PSP reports of the robbery to apply for a U-visa. The U-visa is a special visa offered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to non-citizens who are victims of crime and who are cooperative with law enforcement. Patel had no lawful immigration status in the United States at the time of the staged robbery.


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