A Population, Immigration and Borders Authority clerk operated together with an Indian foreign worker to defraud other foreign workers who were looking to extend their work visas, at times using violence and threats, police said Tuesday.

The PIBA worker was originally arrested on Sunday, while officers of the Lahav 433 unit arrested the foreign worker Monday night.

According to Vered Vinikov, spokeswoman for the National Police Investigative Branch, the Indian worker would take between several hundred and 1,000 shekels from foreigners looking to attain work visas for themselves or their families.

On a number of occasions, when the workers confronted him to get their money back, he physically attacked them, Vinikov said.

She added that on at least one occasion, the PIBA employee had taken part in the physical assaults.

The PIBA employee’s role in the scam, according to Vinikov, was to use his position to threaten the foreign workers, saying he could have them arrested or deported if they continued to demand their money back from his accomplice. Police also believe that he may have taken money from the Indian man in return for helping him with the scam.

Vinikov said that Lahav 433 had encountered similar scams in the past, largely due to the relative ease of carrying them out.

“People see [foreign workers] as weak and in need of legal documents or some sort of assistance to stay in Israel,” she said. “They don’t understand the laws or their rights, and [people] take advantage of them relatively easily.”

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