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23-Year-Old Man With Forged New York Documents Appears In Federal Court in St. Thomas

Chintamkumar Patel

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A 23-year-old man heard charges in federal court that he had used forged identity documents to board a flight in the territory, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Chintamkumar Patel an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on Friday after being charged in a complaint with using a false document to defraud the United States, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Patel was released pending further proceedings after a detention and preliminary hearings on Monday, Sharpe said.

According to the complaint, on May 19, 2016, Patel appeared at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) primary inspection checkpoint at the Cyril E. King International Airport on  St. Thomas and presented a false New York driver’s license.

Patel was a ticketed passenger on an American Airlines flight to the mainland United States, authorities.

Under federal law, if convicted of using a false document to defraud the United States, Patel faces a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter.

Sharpe reminds the public that said that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” he said.

Chintamkumar Patel 3

Chintamkumar Patel (middle) on Facebook

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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