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Man convicted of fraud fears ‘honour killing’ if deported to India

The image is for representation only. Source: Pixabay

Jatinder Singh fears his wife's family would kill him he is forced to return to India.

An Indian national convicted in a case of over a $1.3 million fraud in the US says he fears “honour killing” if he is forced to return to India.

Jatinder Singh alias Bobby was sentenced to time served on February 21, and ordered to pay $81,197 in restitution for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, MLive Michigan reported.

31-year-old Singh pleaded guilty in April 2017 to aiding a food stamp fraud while working at a liquor store in Flint (Michigan) in which the court also sentenced the liquor store owner Lucky Chahal and another accomplice, Tony Singh.

But Singh’s lawyer filed a motion to have Singh’s guilty plea withdrawn after an Immigration court denied his asylum claim in December 2017.

His lawyer Kimberly W. Stout said Singh had entered the guilty plea under the assumption that he would be allowed to stay in the United States due to the threat he faced in India.

"This is obviously a very troubling situation.”

"He was very much used and preyed upon in this case. He has two children here and now he doesn't know what going to happen," Ms Stout said.

According to the motion filed in the court, Singh fled to the United States from India in 2008 after being targeted by his wife's family for an "honour killing.

It was alleged that his wife’s family did not agree to their relationship due to the families being from different cultures. It claimed when Singh proposed to the woman, her father beat her up and issued death threats to Singh.

Singh’s visa expired in 2015 while he was working at the liquor store between February and October and remained in the US without a legal status.

Liquor store owner Lucky Chahal would pay customers 50 cents cash in exchange for each dollar of their food stamps benefits. He would also exchange benefits for ineligible items such as cigarettes and alcohol, authorities said, claiming that Chahal then illegally used the food stamp benefits to purchase stock for the stores.

Although Singh agreed to waive his right to appeal his sentence at the time he pleaded guilty, he may still file an appeal on a technicality, the lawyer said. 

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