Federal prosecutors are accusing the owners of more than a dozen 7-Eleven convenience store franchises of imposing a system of modern-day slavery against undocumented workers. U.S. authorities seized 14 stores in New York and Virginia, while dozens more remain under investigation. According to prosecutor Loretta Lynch, many of the workers targeted were from Pakistan and the Philippines.
Loretta Lynch: “The franchise owners that we have charged were engaged in a pattern of fraud and worker exploitation that involved stolen identities, false information submitted to their payroll provider and the systematic exploitation of the mostly illegal immigrant workforce that they sought out and that they employed. Immigrant workers were routinely forced, upon threat of job loss or deportation, to work upwards of 100 hours a week, to live only in the houses the defendants owned, and were given only a small percentage of the money they earned.”
Nine owners and managers were arrested Monday. Authorities also found 18 undocumented workers victimized in the alleged scheme who are now facing possible deportation.