News India Times: Psychiatrist from Texas was arrested and released on a $300,000 bond

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News India – Times
New York Man, Houston Doctor Charged in Sex Trafficking Case
By Ela Dutt
August 15, 2014

Four individuals, at least one of them of Indian origin and another of Pakistani origin, described as a “criminal group” operating in New York City, have been indicted by a grand jury for bringing dancers from India on false pretenses and forcing them to dance at nightclubs and engage in prostitution.

In an indictment filed on July 9 and unsealed recently, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, accused Rashmikant Patel, Mehmood Hassanali Dhanani, Sabja Khimani and Riyaz Mazcuri of committing human trafficking offenses and visa fraud.

Mazcuri, whose first name is also spelt “Riaz” in news reports, is a psychiatrist from East Texas and was also known as “The Doctor.” News reports describe him as a psychiatrist from Texas who was arrested on July 24, and released on a $300,000 bond according to the website psychsearch.net. He was scheduled to appear before the New York court on Aug. 1. The name Sabja Khimani shows up on Mylife.com in Richmond Hill, N.Y. but no other information about him was available.

More people are expected to be charged, U.K.’s Daily Mail reported.

The grand jury indictment which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charged the group with four counts of forced labor conspiracy, visa fraud conspiracy, visa fraud, and foreign labor contracting fraud conspiracy.

According to the indictment the group hired Indian dancers telling them they would be performing at cultural events in the U.S. Instead, when they arrived on American soil, the “criminal group” took away their passports, and confined them in houses and hotel room against their will. The accused then allegedly forced the dancers to dance for 12 to 14 hours per night seven nights a week, in front of crowds of men. Some of them were pressured into prostitution, under threats of physical harm, the indictment alleges. The group also made false statements on visa applications to get permission for the dancers to come to this country says the indictment. The crimes were allegedly committed between 2008 and 2010, it says.

The indictment singles out Patel for submitting false statements to the U.S. State Department in support of a visa application for one of the dancers.

According to the FBI, human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery. Estimates place the number of its domestic and international victims in the millions, mostly females and children enslaved in the commercial sex industry for little or no money, an FBI report says.