14 stores raided in illegal immigration probe in US

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June 17, 2013

NEW YORK: US authorities today raided 14 popular convenience stores and arrested nine owners and managers, charging them with harboring and hiring illegal immigrants, including Pakistanis.

Federal authorities seized 14 7-Eleven stores on Long Island and in Virginia this morning, The New York Times reported.

Immigration and customs enforcement agents and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn were also investigating 40 other 7-Eleven franchises in New York City and elsewhere, the paper quoted sources as saying.

June 17, 2013

NEW YORK: US authorities today raided 14 popular convenience stores and arrested nine owners and managers, charging them with harboring and hiring illegal immigrants, including Pakistanis.

Federal authorities seized 14 7-Eleven stores on Long Island and in Virginia this morning, The New York Times reported.

Immigration and customs enforcement agents and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn were also investigating 40 other 7-Eleven franchises in New York City and elsewhere, the paper quoted sources as saying.

Prosecutors were seeking USD 30 million in forfeiture from the stores and their corporate parent. The franchises split their profits with the corporation, which handles the store payrolls, the sources said.

According to investigators, some owners of the raided franchises allegedly helped traffic in workers from Pakistan to work in their stores, the NBC News reported.

Those workers were then allegedly forced to live in housing provided by the franchise owners, authorities said.

The owners and managers, eight men and a woman, were charged in an indictment to be unsealed later today, sources said.

It included accusations of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft stemming from payment of employees who were illegal immigrants using the Social Security numbers of children and the dead, they said.

One of the sources said the owners and managers had abused and taken advantage of the illegal immigrant workers.

More than a dozen workers believed to have been brought to the country illegally were taken into immigration custody, investigators said.

In one instance, an employee of one franchise was paid using the Social Security number of a former 7-Eleven employee, a person who had not worked for the store for 10 years and who had been the target of collection efforts by the Internal Revenue Service for much of that time because of the reported payments to the illegal immigrant, the report said.

The conduct charged in the indictment had been going on for more than a decade.

Twenty-five of the 40 additional 7-Eleven franchises under scrutiny were to be inspected later today as part of the ongoing investigation.


Courtesy: PTI