Foreign National From Key US Ally Extradited, Charged With Leading Extensive Visa Fraud, Employment Scheme

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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An Israeli national was charged in a Virginia federal court with leading a visa fraud scheme to assist the illegal entry and employment of non-U.S. citizens into the U.S., the Department of Justice Department announced Friday.

Shai Cohen, 39, “and his co-conspirators allegedly assisted noncitizens in fraudulently obtaining B-1/B-2 tourist/visitor visas by misrepresenting the true purpose of their travel to the United States, which was illegal employment,” a DOJ statement noted. Upon entry into the U.S., the noncitizens were allegedly employed in Cohen’s Virginia and Maryland mall kiosks and allegedly paid “by under-the-table cash payments or the transfer of money to stored value payment cards, rather than through a legitimate payroll system.” Cohen also allegedly helped to house and transport the noncitizens to and from his kiosks. (RELATED: Migrants Bound For US Are Pouring Into Mexico While Biden Takes Victory Lap On Immigration Crackdown)

Cohen was arrested in Israel and extradited to the Eastern District of Virginia to face charges of “conspiracy to defraud and commit offenses against the United States; bringing aliens to the United States for financial gain; encouraging and inducing aliens to unlawfully come to, enter, and reside in the United Sates [sic] for financial gain; harboring illegal aliens; and money laundering conspiracy,” per the statement. A maximum 20-year jail sentence reportedly awaits him if he is convicted.

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Department of Labor are investigating the case, the statement noted.

Employers in the U.S. have been required by law to “verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees” since 1986.