A Head of the Harbor couple has admitted to their role in smuggling undocumented immigrants from Pakistan to work in 7-Eleven stores that they owned on Long Island and stealing their pay.
Farrukh and Bushra Baig both pleaded guilty Monday at Central Islip federal court to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain. Farrukh also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They had been arrested last year.
Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, had called the scheme a “modern day plantation system.”
U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents had raided more than a dozen of the convenience stores, including some beyond LI, in what authorities had described at the time as one of the biggest busts of its kind in federal law enforcement history. Federal agents raided up to 30 7-Elevens nationwide as a part of the probe.
Authorities have said the suspects hid the victims’ immigration status, stole their workers’ wages and forced them to live in illegal boarding houses. Prosecutors said the suspects forced them to pay their rent in cash to cover their tracks. The victims were afraid to report the crimes because they were afraid of being deported or arrested, officials said.
The couple is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 18.