7-Eleven raids were carried out in several states recently, with authorities charging nine owners and managers with hiring and harboring numerous illegal immigrants.
The immigrants were allegedly paid via illegal Social Security numbers, officials told The New York Times. Owners are accused of committing wire fraud and using false numbers to pay their employees.
The 7-Eleven shops were raided in New York’s Long Island and Virginia early on Monday morning, according to the report. Owners allegedly helped smuggle workers into the United States from Pakistan.
“These nine defendants created a modern-day plantation system, with themselves as overseers, with the immigrant workers as subjects, living in their version of a company town,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said at a news conference in Brooklyn, according to The Associated Press.
Lynch told PIX-11 that Social Security numbers of children and dead people were used in the scam.
Farrakhan and Bushra Baig owned 12 of the 14 franchise 7-Eleven stores. And as many as 14 illegal immigrants were taken into custody.
“The 7-Eleven franchises seized today will be better known for their big fraud than their Big Gulp,” U.S. Attorney, Loretta Lynch told the station.
U.S. authorities also plan to seize five houses in connection with the alleged scam.