Indian American Man Hardev Panesar Admits to Multimillion Dollar Visa FraudFebruary 23, 2019 10:04
(Image source from: www.sandiegouniontribune.com)
The Indian national man, who pretended to be the United States government official, has admitted to running a multimillion-dollar immigration fraud that duped more than 100 people, according to federal prosecutors.
The 70-year-old Hardev Panesar admitted to the crimes on Thursday in the San Diego Federal Court and as well agreed to pay back $2.5 million to the dupes, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Over a period of five years, he told numerous victims that he was an official of the Department of Homeland Security and that he and his partners could get them and their families legal immigration status, according to the DOJ.
Just before his trial was to begin, Panesar jumped bail and fled to Mexico in June earlier this year and hid there till he was caught by Mexican authorities who deported him to the U.S. in August, the DOJ said.
Cutting down the trial process, he made the acceptance of guilt before Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, who is to impose a sentence on him in May. He will face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
One of his associates were sentenced to three years and ten months for his role in the scheme.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is proceeding with its probe as the fraud could have begun too early and is asking anyone who may be a victim to communicate with the agency.
Panesar showed dupes fake government IDs and took their fingerprints. He also oftentimes demanded more money to accelerate what he said was the immigration process, the DOJ said.
Taking fingerprints is a part of the immigration process and getting them would have made the scheme appear authoritative.