Federal agents make arrests in Myrtle Beach immigration scheme

The U.S. Attorney's office in Florence says illegal aliens have been arrested for fraudulently buying or attempting to buy immigration documents from a supplier in Myrtle Beach over a three-year period.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Day, who is prosecuting the case, says a total of eleven people have been arrested this week. Eight of the defendants were named in an indictment from September 25: Nevo Yosef Katzav, Einan Salach, Omri Lipman, Anat Bor, Florence Tiego, Lior Shriki, Amos Shmilovich and Eran Kol.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Vinny Picard says ten of the defendants are from Israel and one is from Kenya.

According to the indictment, the aliens attempted to fraudulently obtain Visas, Alien Registration Receipts, Resident Alien Cards and other immigration documents from a supplier in Myrtle Beach from October 2009 to April 2012. The supplier was not named in the indictment, but Day told NewsChannel 15 federal authorities know the supplier's identity. All of the defendants lived outside South Carolina, Day said.

The indictment claims the aliens paid up to $6,000 to the supplier to fraudulently obtain the documents.

Day couldn't offer an explanation for why a supplier of fraudulent immigration documents would be located in Myrtle Beach. He said it would be more logical for a supplier to be based in a city like Charleston, which has a U.S. immigration office.

Unlike typical immigration cases involving aliens who cross the border from Mexico, Day said most of these arrests stem from attempted illegal re-entry into the country. Court documents show three of the defendants will require a Hebrew interpreter and one will require a Swahili interpreter.

Arraignment for the defendants is set for Friday at 10 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Florence.