New criminal investigation into Chipotle hiring practicesby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Chipotle restaurant chain is facing a new criminal investigation related to its hiring practices.
In 2010, Chipotle fired about 450 Minnesota employees who could not prove they had valid permits to work in the United States.
Since then immigration officials have widened the investigation of the restaurant chain to other states. Now, federal prosecutors want to know whether Chipotle tried to hide information about that probe from investors.
"I think the government has decided, we're not going to let you play this game anymore," said Sam Myers, a Minneapolis attorney who helps employers with immigration matters, said that with fewer people crossing the border illegally, the federal government is focusing more resources on companies that hire undocumented workers.
"The number of employers who were audited and arrested has grown precipitously since 2008."
In a statement, Chipotle says that authorities are likely focusing on disclosures the company made to investors about the immigration investigation.
"They're not spending as much money at the border because they don't have to. There's not this big influx of Mexican immigration, for example, because of the economy," Myers said. "They've got the time, they've got the resources, and they've got the statutes, and that's kind of a perfect storm for violators."