7-Eleven store operators accused of exploiting illegal workers
By Ellen Wulfhorst, Reuters
NEW YORK - The owners and managers of more than a dozen 7-Eleven Inc stores were accused on Monday of hiring and victimizing dozens of illegal immigrants, forcing them to live in substandard housing, giving them stolen identities and stealing their wages.
Federal authorities moved to forfeit the franchise rights to 14 of the convenience stores and seize five houses in New York worth more than $1.3 million, making the case the largest criminal immigration forfeiture in Department of Homeland Security history, according to federal and state officials.
The eight men and one woman charged in the scheme ran 7-Elevens in New York and Virginia, according to two indictments unsealed on Monday.
“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,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement released with Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration as well as state and local police.
More than 50 illegal immigrants were overworked and cheated out of their wages, the authorities said. Because they were illegally in the country, the victims may have been afraid to report possible wrongdoing, they added.
The immigrants were given identities stolen from more than 25 people, including dead people and children, they said. The scheme was concealed from 7-Eleven headquarters, they said.
Sad. It probably goes on more than anyone can imagine, though. I wonder what can be done?
Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 2:00 AM on Jun. 18, 2013
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