7-Eleven stores raided as prosecutors accuse managers of exploiting immigrants

NEW YORK (AP) — Nine owners and managers of 7-Eleven stores in suburban New York and in Virginia are charged in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme to exploit immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines.

Among other things, they’re accused of paying the workers using stolen Social Security numbers from dozens of people — including a child and three dead people — while stealing most of the workers’ wages.

According to federal indictments, they’ve employed more than 50 immigrants who didn’t have permission to be in the country, and tried to conceal their employment by using the stolen identities.

Most of the people who are charged were arrested early today during raids of 14 franchise stores. Authorities say search warrants have been executed at dozens of other stores across the country suspected of similar crimes.

Authorities say the defendants pocketed tens of millions of dollars, hiding some of the money.

Immigration officials have detained 18 workers, including some who first notified authorities about the alleged fraud in 2010. A prosecutor says they’ll be processed through the system, and some who served as whistleblowers will be able to remain in the country while the case is prosecuted.

%@AP Links

204-a-15-(Jim Hayes, special agent, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at news conference)-”for multiple employees”-Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jim Hayes says shoddy bookkeeping at 7-Eleven aided the identity theft. (17 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *204 (06/17/13)££ 00:15 “for multiple employees”

201-w-33-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent, with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch)–Franchise holders for fourteen 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia have been indicted on worker exploitation and identity theft charges. AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports. (17 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *201 (06/17/13)££ 00:33

202-a-11-(U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, at news conference)-”have targeted today”-US Attorney Loretta Lynch says fourteen 7-Eleven stores were involved in the indictments. (17 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *202 (06/17/13)££ 00:11 “have targeted today”

GRAPHICSBANK: 7-ELEVEN logo, graphic element on white (17 Jun 2013)

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