ICE special agents served notices of inspection, also known as I-9 audit notices, to 98 7-Eleven franchise stores across the country, and conducted interviews with the stores’ employees and managers. NOIs are a tool used by ICE to ensure that businesses are operating with employees who have proper work authorization.
In 2013, Homeland Security Investigations conducted an investigation into various 7-Eleven franchises that resulted in the arrest of nine franchise owners and managers for conspiring to commit wire fraud, stealing identities and concealing and harboring illegal aliens employed at their stores. All but one, who remained a fugitive until his arrest in November 2017, pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution for back wages stolen from workers.
NOIs were served in 18 states and Washington, D.C.: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
Twenty-one individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally were administratively arrested and given notices to appear in immigration court.
The investigation remains ongoing. Any potential criminal charges or other penalties will be coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice.