Owner of Mall Kiosk Businesses Pleads Guilty to Immigration and Money Laundering Charges
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Omer Gur, 36, of Raleigh, North Carolina, pleaded guilty today to charges relating to his leadership of a visa fraud conspiracy involving over 140 foreign workers from Israel.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Gur admitted that from 2012 through 2014, he operated several business entities known collectively as RASKO. During this time he and other co-conspirators illegally induced and recruited, for employment purposes, foreign nationals to enter the United States from Israel on B-2 visitor visas. Gur and the co-conspirators would then put them to work at mall-based kiosk business in Virginia (including in the Hampton Roads area), Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey through which they sold Dead Sea Salt products. Gur and others paid for their travel to the United States, housed workers in leased apartments, transported workers to work locations and paid workers in cash, wire transfers and gift cards in order to avoid reporting workers and their earnings to employment and taxing authorities. From 2012 through 2014, RASKO earned over $14 million through its kiosk based sales.
To date, nine of the ten charged defendants in the case have been arrested (eight in the United States and one recently extradited from Romania). Gur is the fourth defendant to enter a plea of guilty.
Gur faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and will be sentenced on October 27. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Robin Blake, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Washington, DC Regional Office, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington; John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Bill A. Miller, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service for the U.S. Department of State, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian J. Samuels, Lisa R. McKeel and Kevin Hudson are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:16cr17.