OPERATIONS

7-Eleven stores raided in illegal immigrant scam

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Nine owners and managers of 7-Eleven stores across Long Island (New York) and in Virginia were charged on Monday of harboring and hiring dozens of illegal immigrants and paying them using sham Social Security numbers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn were also investigating some 40 other 7-Eleven franchises in New York City and elsewhere, the New York Times reported. The probe ranks as one of the largest criminal immigrant employment investigations ever conducted by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments.

The charges and two indictments were announced at a news conference on Monday in New York City. Officials at the news conference said the defendants hired more than 50 illegal immigrants, provided them with more than 20 identities stolen from United States citizens, including children and dead people, put them up at houses owned by the defendants and stole substantial portions of their wages. Most of the immigrants were from Pakistan,

“From their 7-Eleven stores the defendants dispensed wire fraud and identity theft, along with Slurpees and hot dogs,” Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn said. “In bedroom communities across Long Island and Virginia, the defendants not only systematically employed illegal immigrants but concealed their crimes by raiding the cradle and grave to steal the identity of children and even the dead.”

According to Lynch, the defendants “ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees,” forcing them to live in unregulated boardinghouses and “creating a modern-day plantation system.”

The charges against the owners and managers included wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, the Times said.

Scott Matter, a spokesman for 7-Eleven, said the parent company was aware of the arrests and seizures and “has been cooperating with federal authorities during their investigation.” Matter said the company would have no comment until it learned more about the case, the Times reported.

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STORE SPACES

Dunkin’ Donuts details new store design

BY Marianne Wilson

Canton, Mass. — Dunkin’ Donuts provided highlights of its new store design, the brand’s first in nearly seven years. The new layout and contemporary look maintains the brand’s focus on helping people get in and get on their way, while incorporating new features to create a warm environment for guests who seek a longer, more relaxed visit. Inviting seating areas include updated furniture and lighting, as well as convenient electrical outlets and bar top areas for smartphones and computers.

While most Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants offer free Wi-Fi for surfing the Web, some will also feature flat-panel televisions, satellite music and soft seating. New interactive, digital menu boards that use video will add more color and excitement for ordering at the counter, while redesigned signage and canopies give the drive-thru a more modern look, reflecting the restaurant’s overall new architectural elements and colors. The new design also includes an optional glass bakery display case at the front counter featuring signature items and a refrigerated Grab N’ Go cooler.

The new look includes four distinct restaurant design options for franchisees, each featuring variations in layout, color schemes, graphics, textures, furniture and/or lighting. The designs are called: Original Blend, Cappuccino Blend, Dark Roast and Jazz Brew. (Unlike other quick-service restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts allows franchisees to select individual elements from any of the four options, creating a restaurant design that reflects their personal tastes and preferences, and best serves their specific restaurant size and location.)

In an effort to incorporate sustainable building and energy solutions that reduce costs for franchisees while benefiting the environment, the new store design also includes LED light fixtures, no VOC paints, and wall tile with 35% pre-consumer recycled materials.

New and remodeled Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants with the new design began to roll out throughout the country in April, but it will be many years before the majority of Dunkin’ Donuts locations feature the new look and layout, the company said.

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REAL ESTATE

Nordstrom Rack in Long Beach City Place to close

BY Staff Writer

Long Beach, Calif. — Nordstrom announced plans to close its Long Beach City Place Nordstrom Rack store in Long Beach, Calif. Originally opened in August 2002, the 33,000-sq.-ft. store will close to the public in late January 2014.

The company will continue to serve customers at three nearby Nordstrom Rack locations in Lakewood, South Bay and Edinger.

“The City Place Rack has been a part of the Nordstrom family for nearly 12 years and we value the hard work and efforts of our team there,” said Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack. “We still hope to do business in Long Beach in the future but with our lease set to expire and having opened three nearby locations in recent years, this is the right time to not renew our lease, close our store at that location and look to the future. Our hope is that eventually we can find another great location where we can better serve our customers.”

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