7-Eleven franchises in Virginia and New York are under federal investigation for employing as many as 50 undocumented immigrants who were working under identities stolen from U.S. citizens, including children and dead people, The New York Times
Feds raided 14 stores on Long Island and in Virginia and arrested nine managers for taking in more than $180 million under the system. Employees worked up to 100 hours per week, were forced to live in houses owned by the franchisees, and weren’t paid for all their work time. Some employees had been working under those conditions for more than a decade.
As many as 40 other franchises in states including Illiniois, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are under investigation. Prosecutors are calling it a “modern-day plantation system.”
Authorities say these practices flew under the radar because 7-Eleven’s corporate overseers simply didn’t have a system in place to prevent it. Two employees in different stores were working under the same Social Security number, for instance.
7-Eleven released a statement from Director of Corporate Communications Margaret Chabris, in which the company pledged to cooperate with the federal investigation and said it “will take aggressive actions to audit the employment status of all its franchisees' employees.”
She continued, “7-Eleven Inc. is taking steps to assume corporate operation of the stores involved in this action so we can continue to serve our guests.”
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The company is keeping quiet otherwise. Its most recent posts on Facebook
are Father’s Day related, and its most recent press release
is a June 10 notice about a free tea promotion.
There doesn’t seem to be a huge contingent of Facebook users clamoring about the raids—at least not yet. Most of the recent posts to 7-Eleven’s wall are about Slurpees and Big Gulps. Only two posts mention news of the raids, and they’re simply describing what happened, not lambasting the brand.