(JTA) — An Israeli-American man who owns kiosks in shopping malls in several U.S. states was among 10 Israelis indicted for illegally employing 140 Israeli nationals to sell Dead Sea beauty products.
Omer Gur Geiger, of Raleigh, North Carolina, and nine other men and women were arrested last week and indicted Friday in a Virginia federal court. They are employees of a North Carolina-registered company, Stanga, operating mall kiosks selling products said to be made from Dead Sea minerals 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 U.S. kiosks, helping the Israeli nationals obtain travel visas, or B-2 visitor visas, in order to enter the country, according to the indictment.
FBI agents tracked more than $14 million in sales over the past five years. According to the investigation, 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 their sales pitch. 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.