TORONTO (JTA) — Eleven Israeli citizens were arrested in Canada for allegedly working illegally there.
Their alleged ringleader, Iftash Jacob, was among 10 Israelis who were arrested Dec. 21 in a raid on a home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and on kiosks at three shopping malls in the region. Canada Border Services Agency officials arrested an 11th person the next day outside a courthouse.
Jacob was released from custody Dec. 22 after surrendering his passport and posting a $7,500 bond. He must report to the Canada Border Services Agency every week and travel from Toronto to a Halifax court in February to enter a plea.
Eight of the accused — two women and six men – pleaded guilty to working in Canada without authorization, and each was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. They are allowed to stay in the country but not work here.
One of the accused was freed on $1,000 bail and ordered to abide by the same conditions as Jacob.
Border Services claims that Jacob brought foreign workers to Canada illegally and was working without permission himself, the CBC reported.
Earlier this month, Border Services officials arrested 31 people that it said were working illegally at Ottawa-area shopping malls. Most were from Israel.
In WikiLeaks documents released in August, James Cunningham, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, said schemes like this are a $1 billion industry. He said young Israelis are promised good pay for selling goods at mall kiosks, but many are forced to work long hours and return home with little money, according to the CBC.