"This case came to light because some of these defendants, despite their lack of legal status, came forward to report the exploitation," Lynch said.
Lynch said stolen identifications were "recycled from store to store and state to state" in a case driven by greed among defendants who bought big houses.
The government seized the franchise rights of 10 stores in New York and four stores in Virginia. The stores will remain open under the parent company's operation. Authorities said the stores had generated $182 million in profits shared by the defendants and 7-Eleven.
In a statement, 7-Eleven, Inc. said it has cooperated with the investigation and will take "aggressive actions" to audit the employment status of all its franchisees' employees. It said it was also taking steps to assume corporate operation of the stores involved in the action.