Man dupes immigrants,escapes to Mexico
LOS ANGELES, CA — A Southern California Indian American man accused of posing as a federal agent and bilking immigrants out of $1.5 million is being sought after authorities say he cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and fled to Mexico.
According to a report, a warrant has been issued for the re-arrest of Hardev Singh Mohan Singh Panesar.
The 70-year-old is accused of posing as a Homeland Security agent and promising more than 100 victims that he could obtain legal immigration status for them or stop their deportation proceedings for a fee of $40,000 each.
The San Diego County man was awaiting trial when authorities were alerted on June 21 that his ankle monitor had been tampered with.
Panesar was born in Kenya and speaks five languages, has frequently used aliases and is accused of being a chronic liar.
Prosecutors argued for detention without bail after he was arrested in June 2017, but the magistrate judge granted release on $100,000 bond.
In January, his attorney requested he be taken off home detention and allowed to be out between 6 am and 10 pm. He had performed well on bond thus far and was employed, the lawyer said. The judge granted the request.
Authorities were alerted to the possibility of escape at 8:42 p.m. June 21. On June 23, Panesar’s wife, a US citizen who lives in Mexico, was detained when she entered the US through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.
She said her husband was staying at her house in Mexico. She agreed to stay in the US that evening so law enforcement could try to arrest him. But she fled back across the border and admitted to warning him, she told an FBI agent.
He was gone when Mexican law enforcement arrived about 30 minutes later.
Leticia Panesar was arrested on June 25 as she crossed back into the US. She has pleaded not guilty.