Feds: NY, Va. 7-11 Stores Exploited Immigrants - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Feds: NY, Va. 7-11 Stores Exploited Immigrants

Posted:

NEW YORK (AP)- Nine owners and managers of 7-11 stores across Long Island and in Virginia were charged on Monday in a scheme to exploit immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines, in part by paying them using the stolen Social Security numbers of a child and three dead people.

Most of the defendants were arrested early Monday as federal authorities raided 14 franchise stores. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were executing search warrants at about 30 other stores across the country suspected of similar infractions, authorities said at a news conference in Brooklyn.

Federal indictments naming eight men and one woman allege that since 2000 they employed more than 50 immigrants who didn't have permission to be in the U.S. They tried to conceal the immigrants' employment by stealing the identities of about two dozen people - including those of the child, the dead and a Coast Guard cadet - and submitting the information to the 7-11 payroll department.

When 7-11's headquarters sent the wages for distribution, the employers stole "significant portions" of the workers' pay, authorities said. The defendants also forced the workers to live in houses they owned and pay them rent in cash, they added.

"The defendants not only systematically employed illegal immigrants, but concealed their crimes by raiding the cradle and the grave to steal the identities of children and even the dead," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "Finally, these defendants ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees, stealing their wages and requiring them to live in unregulated boarding houses, in effect creating a modern day plantation system."

The government seized the franchise rights of 10 stores in New York and four stores in Virginia. The stores will remain open under the parent company's operation.

Immigration officials detained 18 workers, including some who first notified authorities about the alleged fraud.

The defendants were to appear in court on Long Island and Norfolk, Va., later in the day to face wire fraud conspiracy, identity theft and alien harboring charges. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy.

A 7-11 spokesman said the company was cooperating with the investigation, but declined further comment.

The case reflects stepped up enforcement against employers using bogus documentation for immigrant workers. In the past two years, federal authorities have brought similar charges against more than 500 business-owners and managers, said James Hayes, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's New York office.

"There's real teeth to these laws, and we're using them now more than ever before," Hayes said.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. also came under investigation in recent years by for hiring workers who were in the country illegally. Last year, federal prosecutors charged a Minneapolis man who ran a company that provides labor to large poultry farms with transporting and harboring illegal immigrants.

Haeyoung Yoon, senior staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project, said that low-wage employers are more prone to not having the proper documentation for their workers. Once the fraud is exposed, the workers typically end up getting fired on the spot and sometimes deported, Yoon said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Delaware Man Charged In Hawaii Nightclub Shooting

    Delaware Man Charged With Hawaii Nightclub Shooting

    09/21/2017 16:40:00 -04:002017-09-21 20:40:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 4:45 PM EDT2017-09-21 20:45:57 GMT
    A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.
    A former Delaware death-row inmate who brought an 18-year-old Delaware man to Hawaii to get a fresh start says the teen has been falsely accused of a deadly shooting because he's black.More
    A former Delaware death-row inmate who brought an 18-year-old Delaware man to Hawaii to get a fresh start says the teen has been falsely accused of a deadly shooting because he's black.More
  • Salisbury City Police Obtain Surveillance Footage of Cook Out Assault

    Salisbury City Police Obtain Surveillance Footage of Cook Out Assault

    09/21/2017 17:18:00 -04:002017-09-21 21:18:00 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 7:29 AM EDT2017-09-22 11:29:31 GMT
    Cook OutCook Out
    Salisbury police are hoping that surveillance footage taken at the Cook Out restaurant on the city's south side will help them locate seven people who attacked four Salisbury University students early Saturday morning.More
    Salisbury police are hoping that surveillance footage taken at the Cook Out restaurant on the city's south side will help them locate seven people who attacked four Salisbury University students early Saturday morning.More
  • Some Delaware Correctional Officers Concerned Over Rec. Time for Maximum Security Inmates

    Some Delaware Correctional Officers Concerned Over Rec. Time for Maximum Security Inmates

    09/21/2017 20:31:00 -04:002017-09-22 00:31:00 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 8:09 AM EDT2017-09-22 12:09:00 GMT
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)
    Some correctional officers in Delaware are concerned about staffing accomodations for maximum security inmates at the James. T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, a prison that experienced a deadly inmate uprising in February.More
    Some correctional officers in Delaware are concerned about staffing accomodations for maximum security inmates at the James. T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, a prison that experienced a deadly inmate uprising in February.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Salisbury City Police Obtain Surveillance Footage of Cook Out Assault

    Salisbury City Police Obtain Surveillance Footage of Cook Out Assault

    Salisbury City Police are hoping that surveillance footage of an assault at Cook Out will help them in finding seven people who physically attacked four Salisbury University students in the early hours of Saturday morning.

    More

    Salisbury City Police are hoping that surveillance footage of an assault at Cook Out will help them in finding seven people who physically attacked four Salisbury University students in the early hours of Saturday morning.

    More
  • Woman Makes 125-Mile Journey Across Tubman Byway

    Woman Makes 125-Mile Journey Across Tubman Byway

    It's 9 a.m. and Mashona Council is beginning her day. After spending Wednesday night at the James Webb Cabin in Preston, Md., a stop near the Underground Railroad, she's gearing up for her journey. It's a journey she says is both literal and metaphorical. Council says she's walking the whole 125-miles of the byway for herself.

    More

    It's 9 a.m. and Mashona Council is beginning her day. After spending Wednesday night at the James Webb Cabin in Preston, Md., a stop near the Underground Railroad, she's gearing up for her journey. It's a journey she says is both literal and metaphorical. Council says she's walking the whole 125-miles of the byway for herself.

    More
  • Some Delaware Correctional Officers Concerned Over Rec. Time for Maximum Security Inmates

    Some Delaware Correctional Officers Concerned Over Rec. Time for Maximum Security Inmates

    Some correctional officers in Delaware are concerned about staffing accommodations for maximum security inmates at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, a prison that experienced an inmate uprising in February in which a correctional officer died.

    Jurgen Burgoyne, a former correctional officer, said he and colleagues who still work at Vaughn are concerned about a decision to resume giving maximum security inmates 17-and-a-half hours of recreational time a week.

    More

    Some correctional officers in Delaware are concerned about staffing accommodations for maximum security inmates at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, a prison that experienced an inmate uprising in February in which a correctional officer died.

    Jurgen Burgoyne, a former correctional officer, said he and colleagues who still work at Vaughn are concerned about a decision to resume giving maximum security inmates 17-and-a-half hours of recreational time a week.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices