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Two Indian-origin men, 7 cops indicted in U-visa fraud & drug charges

NRI Pulse Staff Report

Atlanta, GA, April 1, 2019: Officials say nine individuals, including two men of Indian origin and seven South Carolina seven law enforcement officers, have been indicted in federal court on visa fraud and drug charges.

One of the schemes alleged in the indictment involved fraudulent U Nonimmigrant Visas (“U-Visas”), which are set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. 

To obtain a U-Visa, a law enforcement official must certify that the alien is assisting that law enforcement agency in the investigation or prosecution of the crime of which the alien was a victim.  According to the Indictment, four officers helped individuals obtain fraudulent U-Visas by taking bribes for fraudulent certifications and creating fraudulent incident reports indicating that aliens were victims of crimes.

The Indictment further alleges that officers took bribes in exchange for protecting methamphetamine and cocaine or the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Saurabhkumar B.  Patel, of Orangeburg, South Carolina was charged with conspiracy; and Tarang Patel, of Newport, Kentucky of conspiracy and visa fraud.

The charges against the law enforcement officers are as follows:

Springfield Police Department Chief Lacra Sharod Jenkins: Conspiracy, Visa Fraud, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Springfield Police Department Officer Allan Hunter, Jr.: Conspiracy, Visa Fraud, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Carolyn Colter Franklin: Conspiracy, Visa Fraud, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nathaniel Miller Shazier, III: Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stanley Lavalle Timmons: Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy James Albert Tucker: Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Willie Paul David Rogers: Conspiracy and Visa Fraud;

If convicted, Jenkins, Hunter, Franklin, Timmons, Shazier, and Tucker face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.  Rogers, Saurabhkumar Patel, and Tarang Patel face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

“With this indictment, we honor the hard work and dedication of the very fine officers across South Carolina who put on the police uniform every day and risk their lives to protect the rest of us,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon.  “If these allegations are proved, these defendants do not deserve to wear the badge and should not be allowed to bring disrepute on the overwhelming majority of men and women in blue who serve South Carolina with integrity.  We will not tolerate the hypocrisy of those who would pretend to enforce the law, while violating it themselves as they seek to line their own pockets.  We call that public corruption, and we will always call it out.”

The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from ICE – Homeland Security Investigations and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William Camden Lewis and Alyssa Leigh Richardson of the Columbia office.  

U.S. Attorney Lydon stated that all charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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