An Israeli man who owns kiosks in shopping malls in seven states was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in jail for illegally employing Israeli nationals to sell Dead Sea beauty products.
 
Omer Gur-Geiger, an Israeli national, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, to 6 ½ years in federal prison for employing illegal aliens in his business. The 36-year-old man pleaded guilty on July 6 to conspiracy to defraud the United States government, as well as conspiracy to launder money. Gur-Geiger owns a business that sells beauty products from the Dead Sea in Israel and had kiosks located in shopping malls in Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. His business operated under various names, including: Orogold, Premier Skincare, and Seacret Spa.
 
All told, Gur-Geiger 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.
 
 
Gur-Geiger’s businesses were part of a larger scheme known as Rasko. Rasko is an Israeli company that allegedly recruited Israelis, many of whom had recently served in the military, and helped them to obtain B-2 travel visas from the U.S. Department of State in order to enter the country and work in kiosks. Under U.S. law, visitors possessing B-2 visas are not allowed to be employed in the United States.
 
According to prosecutors, Gur-Geiger and his associates began hiring Israeli nationals on tourist visas in 2011. In violation of U.S. immigration law, Gur-Geiger employed approximately 340 persons. Of these, about 250 were here on tourist visas, bringing in approximately $14 million in sales. 
 
Gur-Geiger was once a member of the elite Shayetet 13 commando unit of the Israeli Navy. He was ordered to pay not only a $25,000 fine, but to also surrender several properties he owned in North Carolina, a luxury vehicle, and $300,000 in cash. Once he is released from prison, he will be deported. Additionally, Gur-Geiger had resided in North Carolina in a home reportedly worth $1.3 million. Prosecutors asked the court to order the seizure of assets from the company. Federal officials alleged that with a sham marriage to an American citizen in 2005, he became a legal permanent resident. 
 
Besides Gur, nine other men and women were indicted in a Virginia federal court. All are employees of Stanga, a company registered in North Carolina. They were identified as Boaz Ben Cnaan, Shlomo Genish, Zion Sason, Eyal Katz, Rita Berkovich, Ido Rodes, Guy Mazon, Shimon Mizrahi and Shai Yona.
 
FBI agents charged in the indictment, “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.”
 
"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," the indictment read.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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