NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Leaders of 7-Eleven corporate sent a letter to 5,000 franchisees Thursday alerting them of upcoming internal reviews. The letter comes days after federal authorities uncovered an illegal immigration crime ring in 7-Eleven stores.
7-Eleven's EVP and COO Darren Rebelez sent this letter at 11:39 a.m. Thursday. Rebelez said all franchisees are required to conduct an internal review of their personnel files to confirm they are in compliance.
In addition, the franchisees were informed that 7-Eleven corporate will send field consultants and market managers to conduct reviews on site to evaluate compliance of the stores.
The field consultants will review I-9 documents . If any are determined to be missing or in violation, 7-Eleven corporate will issue a breach notice. Failure to fix the breach could result in termination of the franchise agreement.
The move comes after nine 7-Eleven franchisees and store managers were indicted this week on charges of harboring illegal aliens, wire fraud, and identity theft.
A federal indictment states the accused smuggled illegal immigrants into the United States, used stolen social security numbers to put them on the 7-Eleven payroll, and then stole a significant portion of the workers' earnings.
Investigators say at least 50 illegal immigrants were smuggled into the country and at least 25 American citizens had their identities stolen as part of the crime ring.
Six stores in Hampton Roads, including stores in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Newport News , have been taken over by the corporation because of their connection the scheme.
Three local men indicted earlier this week appeared in Norfolk federal court this afternoon for a preliminary hearing. The judge found the nature and severity of the charges against Tariq Rana enough to hold him in federal custody without bond; they also deemed him a flight risk.
The lawyers of the other two defendants -- brothers Zahid Baig and Shannawaz Baig -- were granted additional time to review legal documents concerning the case and screen the defendants wives as third party custodians. Their hearing has been continued to Friday at 2 p.m.
The Baig brothers and Rana are charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, harboring illegal aliens, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 8 years in prison and a maximum of 40 years.
Watch WAVY News 10 beginning at 5 p.m. for updates on this developing story.
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