It is bad enough that we have an ongoing problem with the issue of legal vs illegal status but now it is revealed that there are sniveling arses out there that have been taking advantage of immigrants who are trying to do the right thing to become citizens. These immigrants deserve justice and help.
Advice to all immigrants…make sure you contact legitimate immigration officials and recognized immigration lawyers at their offices. Seek advice from legitimate sources like parish priests, local law enforcement, free legal advice services, and governmental agencies. Watch out for scammers.
Defendants Charged with Posing as Federal Agents and Defrauding Immigrants Out of $6 Million
Southern District of California
Department of Justice
June 7, 2017
Hardev PANESAR (69) of El Cajon, California; Rafael HASTIE (47) of Tijuana, Mexico; and, Gurdev SINGH (56) of Bakersfield, California were arrested today in connection with a scheme to defraud victims seeking immigration status in the United States.
As part of the fraud, two of defendants – Hardev Panesar and Rafael Hastie – posed as officers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and promised that they could obtain immigration status for people in exchange for exorbitant fees. Gurdev Singh is also charged with assisting his conspirators in the fraudulent scheme. According to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today, although Panesar and Hastie have never worked at DHS, since at least 2014 they falsely claimed to be DHS agents and falsely stated they had the authority to obtain lawful immigration documents and legal status for individuals who lacked such status in the United States. Panesar and Hastie also falsely claimed they had the power to stop deportation proceedings.
According to the Indictment, the defendants defrauded victims out of approximately $6,000,000 from the scheme. Panesar, Hastie and Singh collected fees from victims under the guise that they would be able to provide immigration documents, and concealed from victims the fact that they would never be able to obtain immigration documents or status in the United States. Instead, the defendants converted the proceeds from the scheme to their personal use and benefit.
Panesar, Hastie, Singh and others have solicited and recruited victims across the United States, including California and Indiana, and Mexico.
Panesar and Hastie convinced victims that they were agents, in part, because they showed fake agency credentials when meeting with the victims. Panesar and Hastie also provided immigration applications to victims and took fingerprints supposedly for immigration forms.
They often demanded more money to speed up the process or guarantee the immigration documents by a certain date. Panesar, Hastie, and Singh never delivered on their promise to provide immigration documents, despite collecting thousands of dollars from each of the more than 150 victims.
The investigation into this case continues. The San Diego Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking possible victims in this investigation from 2000 through 2017.
If you believe you are a potential victim of this crime, please fill out the questionnaire at https://forms.fbi.gov/SDImmigrationFraud or email the FBI at SDImmigrationFraud@ic.fbi.gov(link sends e-mail).
I realize that immigrants are often unaware, afraid, or desperate enough to seek help from people who know they can be taken advantage of because of their status. Many see how illegals are treated and think that they are going to be removed as well. Of course, no one can guarantee their status, but these people made an honest effort to do the right thing to become citizens and have suffered. Citizens of the US do want to help those that follow the right steps to citizenship.
Unfortunately, for every legitimate problem, there always seem to be a bottomless well of scumbags determined to scam victims–be it elderly, disabled, disaster, or in this case immigrants.
It could be a scam if:
- the call, letter, email or text has come out of the blue
- you’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about and didn’t buy a ticket
- you are asked to send money in advance or continue to require payments
- you are told you have to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends before you decide
- you are told to keep it a secret.
Check with the offices of officials who might present identification. Ask yourself: Do they actually work there? Does this agency contact people out of the blue? (very few if any except enforcement ever deliberately and without warning show up or email) Do you feel threatened into acting right away?
Also never give out personal information voluntarily (never over a telephone) unless you are assured that it is legitimately required such as in a hospital or government office.
Better safe than sorry…these guys are bloodsucking insects found under nearly every rock and excrement pile across the world.