A citizen of India pleaded guilty Sept. 10, to operating a fraud scheme in which he used Facebook and WhatsApp to scam people wanting to buy United States visas.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, court documents show that Kanwar Sarabjit Singh (aka Sandy Singh), 51, a lawful permanent resident, used Facebook and WhatsApp to falsely represent himself as an employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Singh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and impersonation of a federal officer and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on December 14.
He posed as an employee in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service who could obtain genuine United States visas in exchange for a fee of $3,000 to $4,000. As part of his scheme, Singh created a fake photo identification document which purported to be from DHS. He emailed the ID to others in an effort to show that he was, in fact, able to obtain United States immigration documents.
Singh instructed individuals seeking immigration documents to email him passport photographs, copies of their passports and other personally identifying information and to send him money via overnight delivery service or by wire transfer. After receiving these documents and the requested fee up front, Singh created and emailed fake letters purporting to be from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, which falsely represented that there was an appointment to pick up the requested visa documents. Many of Singh’s victims resided overseas and were impoverished, the press release said.
In addition to this visa fraud scheme, Singh also admitted to engaging in an investment fraud scheme in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in 2012, in which he defrauded approximately 22 investors of approximately $340,000. Singh gained the trust of a local pastor and his church, including elderly members, and falsely represented to them that he owned a small company in India that provided labor for services, including data entry, to two large, international companies and that for a small, up-front investment, they would see a large return on their money.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said if anyone has been a victim of this fraud scheme, they should contact the FBI’s Washington Field Office at 202-278-2000.