Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

New Jersey Man Sentenced to 30 Months for Role in Illegal Immigration Scheme

A New Jersey man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for orchestrating an eight-year scheme to falsify employment certifications to facilitate the illegal entry of Indian nationals into the United States and for filing a false tax return.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey, Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Director Bill A. Miller of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) made the announcement.

Sandipkumar Patel, 42, of Edison, New Jersey, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William H. Walls of the District of New Jersey.  The court also ordered Patel to pay a fine of $50,000, and restitution in the amount of $423,452 to the IRS.

On Sept. 4, 2014, Patel pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with conspiring to defraud the United States and subscribing to a false federal income tax return.

According to court documents filed in connection with his plea, from 2001 until 2009, Patel sponsored the visa applications of Indian nationals by falsely claiming that he would provide employment for them in the United States.  Patel falsely certified on the visa applications that he would employ the migrants in various technical fields at several New Jersey companies, thereby facilitating their illegal entry into the United States.  Over the course of the scheme, migrants paid Patel tens of thousands of dollars for the false certifications.  To disguise the scheme, Patel issued payroll checks and other payroll forms.  Patel required the migrants to return the proceeds of the payroll checks to him and to further reimburse him for the payroll tax expenses he incurred.  Patel used the fraudulent pay stubs and payroll checks to support false applications to extend the visas, and charged the migrants fees for the visa extensions.

As a result of falsely carrying the migrant employees on his payrolls, Patel overstated his payroll expenses on his federal income tax returns by more than $1.4 million over four years, and thereby underreported his tax obligation by over $400,000 for those years.

This case was investigated by the IRS-CI and DSS.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Hope S. Olds of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Robertson of the District of New Jersey, with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.

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