Homeland Security and the DOJ raided 14 7-Eleven stores in Virginia and New York today, charging nine owners and managers with employing unauthorized immigrants and identify theft. According to officials, the stores hired more than 50 unauthorized immigrants, supplied them with stolen identities—some taken from children and dead people—stole their wages, and forced them in live in unregulated boardinghouses, the New York Times reports. The authorities also seized houses in both states, and are still investigating another 40 7-Elevens around the country.
"These defendants ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees, stealing their wages and requiring them to live in unregulated boarding houses, in effect creating a modern day plantation system," says the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, as per Reuters. If convicted, the nine charged face up to 20 years in prison for both wire fraud conspiracy and harboring aliens, plus consecutive two-year terms for the multiple counts of identity theft.