(JTA) — An Israeli-American man who owns kiosks in shopping malls in several states was among ten Israelis indicted for illegally employing 140 Israeli nationals to sell Dead Sea beauty products.
Omer Gur Geiger, a resident of Raliegh, North Carolina, and nine other men and women were arrested last week and indicted in federal court in Virginia on Friday. They were employees of Stanga, a North Carolina-registered company operating mall kiosks selling products said to be made from Dead Sea minerals. The products were sold under the “All That’s Natural” label.
Stanga was registered in North Carolina in 2007 with Geiger as the agent; it is part of a larger venture called RASKO, which reportedly recruited Israelis to work in the mall kiosks in the United States, helping the Israeli nationals to obtain travel visas, or B-2 visitor visas, in order to enter the country, according to the indictment.
“From at least 2007 through the date of the Indictment, RASKO recruited foreign nationals from Israel to work as employees in its kiosks and stores in malls in the United States. If prospective employees did not have a visa, RASKO personnel offered to assist individuals in obtaining one for travel to the United States. Since 2011, many such workers came to the United States via B-2 visitor visas,” according to the indictment.
FBI agents tracked more than $14 million in sales over the last five years; according to the investigation, and many of the Israeli salespeople did not have work visas and the company did not pay taxes on the employees, the NBC affiliate WRAL-TV reported.
“The object of the conspiracy was for the co-conspirators to use the proceeds of their conspiracy to defraud and commit offenses against the United States to transport foreign nationals on B-2 visas to the United States for the purpose of those foreign nationals on B-2 visas engaging in work, and to pay, house, and transport those foreign nationals on B-2 visas once they were in the United States,” according to the indictment.
Gur was charged with 34 counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, visa fraud, encouraging and inducing illegal entry, harboring illegal aliens, transporting illegal aliens and conspiracy to launder money, WRAL reported, citing the indictment.
The young Israeli salespeople are known to be aggressive in an effort to make big sales. They generally use their commissions and earnings to fund post army treks.
The other nine named in the indictment are: Boaz Ben Cnaan, Shlomo Genish, Zion Sason, Eyal Katz, Rita Berkovich, Ido Rodes, Guy Mazon, Shimon Mizrahi, and Shai Yona.