A New Jersey man who fled to India more than four years ago to avoid serving time for immigration fraud has been returned to the U.S.

Naranjan Patel was to appear in federal court in Newark Thursday afternoon.

The former South Plainfield resident left the country in late 2007 less than a week before he was to start serving a three-year prison sentence.

He was convicted in June 2007 of running a scheme to file bogus immigration applications on behalf of hundreds of illegal aliens seeking permanent residency status under a government-sponsored amnesty program.

Authorities say Patel operated the scam with an Irvington-based attorney and the attorney's wife. They both pleaded guilty in 2007.

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