Jackson police officer facing federal charges; Pleads not guilty in court

Ivory Lee Harris

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Jackson Police officer is facing federal charges in a marriage and Visa immigration fraud investigation.

Ivory Lee Harris is accused of creating false police reports, according to the Department of Justice. He appeared in court Thursday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to all the charges pending against him.

A judge set an unsecured bond for $10,000.

Harris is charged in one of two federal indictments that names multiple defendants.

Officials said attorney Simpson Lloyd Goodman is accused of submitting fraudulent documents to U. S. Customs and Immigration Service for the purpose of obtaining U-Visas for other co-defendants. Officials said the false documents submitted to USCIS included falsified police reports allegedly prepared by Officer Harris of the Jackson Police Department.

Officials said other defendants engaged in and caused various acts which enabled defendants to attempt to obtain U-Visas from USCIS.

In order to receive a U-Visa, a person must have the following:

  • been a victim of a certain crime
  • suffered mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime;
  • helped law enforcement officials in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime.

The Law Enforcement Certification forms contain the description of the crimes. Authorities said the forms fraudulently listed individuals as victims of certain crimes in an effort to receive the U-Visas.

WJTV got the chance to speak with Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance about the charges pending against Harris. Vance said Harris has been on the force for about 10 years. He was an officer in Precinct 3. Chief Vance said that Harris has been under federal investigation for the past few months. He remained on patrol during the investigation.

“Officers who commit criminal acts are of zero value to us,” Chief Vance said. “In fact it paints a bad picture to the public of an entire profession when officers go bad, so again as soon as this guy can get prosecuted and go to prison,I’ll be that much more happy. As of this afternoon he will be a former member of the Jackson Police Department.”

Below is a complete list of defendants indicted in this investigation for their roles in a conspiracy to commit fraud and misuse of Visa permits:

  • Sachin Girishkumar Patel, 33, of Clinton, Mississippi
  • Tarunkumar Purushottambhai Patel, 49, of Kingdom City, Missouri;
  • Simpson Lloyd Goodman, 29, of Waynesboro, Georgia;
  • Ivory Lee Harris, 45, of Jackson, Mississippi;
  • Sanjay Rathilal Patel, 35, of Lakewood, New Jersey;
  • Maheshkumar Mangaldas Patel, 50, of Houston, Texas
  • Ashaben Mukeshbhai Patel, 38, of Covington, Louisiana;
  • Rajan Nareshkumar Patel, 31, currently incarcerated in Adams County, Mississippi;
  • Gopaldas Khodabhai Patel, 55, of Byram, Mississippi;
  • Sachin Khodidas Patel, 27, of Byram, Mississippi;
  • Baldevbhai Ramabhai Patel, 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In the second indictment, the 16-count marriage fraud indictment, alleges that people would enter into marriages between people who were already citizens of the United States solely for the purpose
of obtaining immigration status.

Below is a list of defendants from the second indictment:

  • Sachin Girishkumar Patel, 33, of Clinton, Mississippi;
  • Tarunkumar Purushottambhai Patel, 49, of Kingdom City, Missouri;
  • Simpson Lloyd Goodman, 29, of Waynesboro, Georgia;
  • Chirag Nilesh Patel, 27, of St. Louis, Missouri;
  • Dana Cheetara Adams, 29, of Plano, Texas;
  • Brandy Nicole Edwards, 34, of Crystal Springs, Mississippi
  • Terilynn Rankin, 48, of Mendenhall, Mississippi
  • Sejal Sanjay Kakadia, 52, of Covington, Louisiana
  • Jayantibhai Kalidas Chaudhari, 47, of Covington, Louisiana
  • Virendra Rambachan Rajput, 45, of Lawrence, Massachusetts;
  • Javona Shanice Rajput, 27, of Jackson, Mississippi

Read the full news release from the Dept. of Justice here.

This is a developing story; WJTV will bring you more information when it becomes available.

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