MILWAUKEE (TIP): AnIndian spiritual guru hasbeen found guilty by a federaljury of selling religiousworker visas to Indians forover USD 30,000 each toenable them to enter the USfraudulently.Sagarsen Haldar (31) alsoknown as Gopal Hari Das,identified himself as thepresident of a Hindu templeGaudiya Vaisnava Society(GVS) in Milwaukee.A federal jury in theEastern District of Wisconsinfound Haldar guilty of conspiring tocommit immigration fraud, under whichhe fraudulently obtained and soldreligious worker visas to Indian nationals.He will be sentenced on February 24.According to evidence at the trial, Haldarconspired to sponsor more than two dozenIndian nationals to enter the US under theR-1 visas.
The R-1 applications falsely stated thatthe individuals were religious workerswho planned to be priests and performreligious work at the GVS temple.However, the Indian nationals had noreligious training or experience and hadno intention of working as priests oncethey arrived in the US.Haldar charged the Indian nationals asmuch as USD 30,000 each for giving themthe visas. They made substantial cashpayments to Haldar and his associates inIndia and paid the balance toHaldar once they arrived inthe United States by workingat convenience stores andother Milwaukee-arealocations.
“We are extremely gratifiedwith the jury’s guilty verdictin this case,” said GaryHartwig, special agent incharge of US Immigrationand Customs Enforcement’s(ICE) Homeland SecurityInvestigations.”Visa fraud represents avulnerability that could beexploited by criminals or others who wishto do us harm,” Hartwig said.The investigation into the matter beganin June 2008 after ICE receivedinformation from US Citizenship andImmigration Services’ Benefit Fraud Unitthat the temple had filed numerouspetitions for R-1 religious workers fromIndia.Subsequent investigation revealed thatHaldar used the GVS temple as a front foran elaborate religious visa fraud scheme.Haldar was charged in June 2010 afterHomeland Security Investigations agentsarrested him at Chicago’s O’HareInternational Airport as he arrived in theUS from India. In his luggage, Haldar hadidentification documents – includingpassports and other Indian identificationpapers – bearing the names andphotographs of other Indian nationals.