Questions focus on corporate’s central payroll system
DALLAS — A federal probe into human trafficking at 7-Eleven franchise locations is generating more questions and a broader investigation, according to sources familiar with both the company and the charges recently filed.
A federal sweep earlier this month into one of the country’s largest cases of human trafficking netted a slew of indictments against 7-Eleven franchisees in Long Island, N.Y., and Virginia, including conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants employed at the stores, conspiracies to commit wire fraud and stealing identities.
7-Eleven corporate has not been charged with any wrongdoings and most recently issued a directive to its estimated 5,700 franchises to conduct self-reviews by end of June or face up to $1,100 in fines per violation. Additionally, 7-Eleven executive vice president and chief operating officer Darren Rebelez said the company will be conducting its own audits of franchises.
The company’s actions come as sources tell CSP Daily News that the federal probe is expanding into other states and could involve the brand’s entire retail network.
At play is 7-Eleven’s backoffice system and who knew what when, according to several 7-Eleven franchisees who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Basically, the ISP runs the store,” one operator said of 7-Eleven’s in-store processing system, which manages ordering, scan data, payroll and more. The system is so sophisticated it knows how many cups of coffee are sold every day at each store, how many candy bars are sold, how many cigarettes are sold.”
“7-Eleven corporate is extremely involved in the day-to-day operations of the store,” the operator continued. “With all that oversight and sophistication, it’s extremely difficult to believe 7-Eleven couldn’t red-flag the payroll abnormalities that is alleged to have happened.”
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