Two industrial-size immigration fraud cases came to my attention this week with many similarities, but with different outcomes.
In both cases:
- The principal illegal activities took place in the Eastern District of Virginia;
- The two ringleaders were both born in Israel, about six years apart;
- Both operated a similar hustle involving aliens brought in on tourist visas and then employed (illegally) in those kiosks one sees in shopping centers;
- Both dealt in, among other things, skin care products; and
- Both operations were busted in 2016.
But in one case, Eyal Katz pleaded guilty to two of the 34 counts against him back in 2017, was sentenced to seven years in prison, and is either coming to the end of his sentence now, or was released early for good behavior.
The other con, Shai Cohen, apparently did not cooperate with authorities and fled to Israel, from which he was extradited in August, according to a DoJ press release.
Katz, if he stays out of trouble, either is, or is about to be, a free man at the age of 45; Cohen, at 39, is facing years of trials and/or prison sentences. I cannot tell from reading the court documents if the two knew each other or perhaps worked together, but they certainly were tromping around in the same kinds of businesses.
We reported on the Katz case back in 2016, writing:
This was not a modest business; the indictment [of Katz and nine others] speaks of $140 million in sales in a three-year period. There were many indications ... that the employer frequently cheated both the government and the workers by paying in cash (and in gift cards) and skipping income tax deductions and payroll taxes. There were some 140 workers on B-2 visas.
Similarly, the DoJ press release says of the Cohen operation:
[T]he noncitizens who engaged in illegal employment were allegedly primarily compensated for their work by under-the-table cash payments or the transfer of money to stored value payment cards.
I wish the government would stop using the broad phrase “noncitizens” when they really mean illegal aliens, but cannot bring themselves to use the correct term. The word noncitizen includes both the illegals and many others in perfectly legal statuses such as green card holders and diplomats.
The author is grateful to Mark Krikorian for pointing out the similarities between the two cases.