7-Eleven takes over two more Virginia franchises after federal inquiry.
7-Eleven Inc. has reclaimed the operations of two more Hampton Roads franchises, in Virginia Beach and Newport News, Va., after a federal inquiry into the illegal hiring of immigrant employees by franchise owners in New York and Virginia, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported.
“7-Eleven Inc. has assumed control of two additional stores in Virginia as a result of pending felony proceedings against two franchisees,” the company said in a statement. “These stores are now open under the management of 7-Eleven Inc.”
The move by 7-Eleven comes after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided 14 other 7-Eleven franchises in Long Island, N.Y. and Virginia, including four in Hampton Roads, earlier this week, and forced the retailer to take over the operation. As a result of those raids, nine 7-Eleven franchise store owners and managers were arrested Monday in Long Island, N.Y. and Virginia, on charges that they stole Social Security numbers to employ Pakistani and Filipino workers who were in the country illegally and siphoned their wages. The charges include wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal immigrants, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported. In addition, federal agents searched some 30 other franchises nationwide where they suspected similar activities may have occurred.
On Wednesday, 7-Eleven announced that it had assumed control of the store in Virginia Beach and in Newport News, in addition to four local stores in Portsmouth, Norfolk and Chesapeake—where franchise owners already were stripped of their control.
Bruce Maples, chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees, released a statement in response to two indictments filed June 17 by the
U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, N.Y. against up to nine independent 7-Eleven franchisees and managers: “Members of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees pledge to observe the highest standards of competency, fairness, and integrity in the conduct of their relations as franchised owners of 7-Eleven stores. Every franchisee is an independent contractor, and solely controls the operation of their store(s). The National Coalition expects every member of our organization to operate their stores in an ethical and honest manner, in accordance with all U.S. laws and consistent with the 7-Eleven franchise agreement.”
The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees is the national trade group for 7-Eleven store owners in the U.S., representing the interests of almost 4,700 convenience store owners whose nearly 5,900 franchise-owned stores employ over 40,000 workers.