El Cajon men posed as Homeland Security agents in $6M scheme - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

El Cajon men posed as Homeland Security agents in $6M scheme

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in San Diego charges two California men and a Mexican citizen with carrying out a scheme that allegedly netted them roughly $6 million by defrauding people seeking legal immigration status in the United States.

Rafael Hastie of Tijuana and Hardev Panesar of El Cajon, allegedly posed as U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents and claimed they could provide immigration services in exchange for exorbitant fees, according to prosecutors.

The third defendant, 56-year-old Bakersfield resident Gurdev Singh, is accused of helping Hastie and Panesar carry out the scheme.

The trio -- who were arrested today -- swindled people across the United States and in Mexico since at least 2014, court documents state.

Hastie, 47, and Panesar, 69, allegedly conned people by showing them fake government credentials, providing them with applications and fingerprinting them. They often demanded extra money to expedite their purported services or to "guarantee" delivery of documents by a certain date, prosecutors allege.

The defendants never delivered on their promises to provide immigration documents, despite collecting thousands of dollars from each of the 150-plus victims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.

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