Nine owners and managers of 7-Eleven stores across Long Island and in Virginia were charged Monday with making tens of millions of dollars by exploiting immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines, in part by paying them using the stolen Social Security numbers of a child and three dead people while stealing most of their wages.
ABC News (h/t Jennifer L) According to the indictments and court papers filed in the Eastern District of New York, the defendants Farrukh and Bushra Baig are a married couple who owned, co-owned and/or controlled 12 of the 7-Eleven franchise stores, located on Long Island, New York and in Virginia. Defendants Zahid Baig and Shannawaz Baig are Farrukh Baig’s brothers, who helped to manage and control the stores, assisted by defendants Malik Yousaf, Tariq Rana and Ramon Nanas. Brothers Ahzar Zia and Ummar Uppal, indicted separately, owned and controlled two other Suffolk County 7-Eleven franchise stores.
Most of the defendants were arrested early Monday as federal authorities raided 14 franchise stores. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were executing search warrants at more than 40 other stores across the country suspected of similar infractions, authorities said at a Brooklyn news conference.
“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 told a news conference in Brooklyn.
Four defendants who hold both U.S. and Pakistani citizenship belong to a family that has participated in social events with Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, prosecutors said in court papers as they highlighted foreign ties while successfully arguing against bail for most defendants. The government said the defendants pocketed tens of millions of dollars in the scheme, hiding some money.