By Aatif Ali Bokhari
TMO Managing Editor
A travel agent based in Chicago was arrested on Thursday for allegedly swindling 50 customers out of $525,000 by selling them hajj packages without pilgrimage visas.
Rashid Minhas, owner of Light Star Hajj Group, was arrested at his North Side home on mail fraud charges. The arrest was made without incident.
Minhas was already out on bail for allegedly committing the same crime last year when he was arrested, reported ABC-7. If convicted, he faces a maximum 20-year prison term.
“He never told us there have been any issues with getting a visa,” alleged victim Farzana (last name withheld) told ABC. “He did send us a flight schedule, but our passport, our tracking number wasn’t even uploaded. That’s the time we got concerned and tried to contact him.”
Minhas did respond to questions and complaints in a message. “We understand how your heart is feeling,” he wrote, “but if Allah doesn’t want to invite you, than no one can take you to Mecca/Medina.”