On June 17, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York unsealed two indictments that accused nine defendants who owned, managed, and controlled fourteen 7-Eleven franchise stores (10 stores in New York and four stores in Virginia) of identity theft, wire fraud, and criminal immigration violations in an alleged scheme to cover up the systematic hiring of illegal aliens. See United States v. Baig, No.2:13-cr-00351 (E.D.N.Y 2013) and United States v. Zia, No. 2:13-cr-00352 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). According to prosecutors, two of the defendants, a married couple, owned, managed, or controlled 12 of the 7-Eleven stores, while five defendants helped manage and control those 12 stores. The remaining two defendants owned and controlled two other 7-Eleven franchise stores in Suffolk County, New York.
The indictments alleged that these stores collectively and systematically employed over 50 undocumented workers since the year 2000. Rather than transmitting the true identification information to 7-Eleven headquarters, the defendants allegedly submitted stolen names and Social Security numbers to conceal the illegal workers. Then, when corporate headquarters transmitted the employees’ wages to the defendants, they systematically stole significant portions of these wages. In addition to criminal penalties, the defendants face forfeiture of $1.3 million, the value of the franchise rights to the 7-Eleven stores that they owned or controlled.