The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office arrested 26 employees of the Pei Wei Asian restaurant chain on Friday after an investigation found more than 100 workers may have used false documents to gain employment. One of the locations was in Tempe.
More arrests are likely Friday as deputies fan out to the homes of employees on record with the Scottsdale-based operation. The sheriff's office launched an investigation in June, after getting a tip that some employees were illegal immigrants. Deputies ran surveillance operations on several restaurants and checked corporate records, the sheriff's office said Friday. Deputies found at least 121 of the company's 800 employees in Maricopa County appeared to use false documents, including social security numbers.
The sheriff's office served search warrants on four restaurants this morning shortly after they opened, then took employees into custody. The Tempe location is at 1825 E. Guadalupe Road.
Deputies have contacted the people who had their identities stolen, and the office said more than 100 of them want to assist in prosecution.
Pei Wei operates 19 restaurants in Arizona and is part of PF Chang's China Bistro, which reports sales of nearly $2 billion.