By Jordan Damond
June 9, 2017 (San Diego) -- Three individuals, including one from East County, were arrested July 7th for impersonating Homeland Security officers and trying to charge immigrants substantial amounts of money in exchange for legal immigration documents that they never provided.
Two of the scam artists were ex-employees who had not worked in the Department of Homeland Security since at least 2014. They stole approximately $6,000,000 in total from over 150 victims through this scheme according to The United States Attorney’s office in San Diego.
The three individuals are Hardev Panesar, 69, from El Cajon, California. Rafael Hastie, 47, from Tijuana, Mexico and Gurdev Singh, 57 from Bakersfield, California. They have been charged on accounts that include conspiring and committing wire fraud as well as false personification of an officer of the United States.
The suspects are accused of scamming victims across the U.S. including in California, as well as in Mexico.
If convicted, the defendants could face decades in federal prison as well as fines of up to $250,000 each for several of the charges.
The Justice Department asks anyone who may have been victimized by this crime to fill out the questionnaire at https://forms.fbi.gov/SDImmigrationFraud or email the FBI at SDImmigrationFraud@ic.fbi.gov.