7-Eleven stores raided as prosecutors accuse managers of exploiting immigrants

NEW YORK (AP) - Nine owners and managers of 7-Eleven stores in suburban New York and in Virginia are charged in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme to exploit immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines.

Among other things, they're accused of paying the workers using stolen Social Security numbers from dozens of people -- including a child and three dead people -- while stealing most of the workers' wages.

According to federal indictments, they've employed more than 50 immigrants who didn't have permission to be in the country, and tried to conceal their employment by using the stolen identities.

Most of the people who are charged were arrested early today during raids of 14 franchise stores. Authorities say search warrants have been executed at dozens of other stores across the country suspected of similar crimes.

Authorities say the defendants pocketed tens of millions of dollars, hiding some of the money.

Immigration officials have detained 18 workers, including some who first notified authorities about the alleged fraud in 2010. A prosecutor says they'll be processed through the system, and some who served as whistleblowers will be able to remain in the country while the case is prosecuted.

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