Chipotle: U.S. Attorney's Office adding possible securities law violations to probe

Chipotle Mexican Grill said Tuesday the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is investigating possible criminal securities law violations related to the chain’s immigration compliance practices.

The announcement follows the disclosure on Friday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Chipotle’s immigration compliance [3] and any related public statements or disclosures.

The Denver-based fast-casual chain is also being investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [4], or ICE, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office for the possible hiring of undocumented workers.

While the SEC’s investigation could potentially result in civil, regulatory or administrative fines, penalties, or other sanctions, the examination by the U.S. Attorney’s office could result in criminal charges — which was already a potential risk with the agency's probe into the chain’s hiring practices.

Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s communications director, said, “It’s very early as far as these new securities-related investigations go, but it appears that the Department of Justice and the SEC are both focused on our disclosures regarding work authorization compliance, both in our SEC filings and in our other communications with investors, such as earnings calls and investor conferences.

“We believe we have been open and transparent with investors about these issues, both before and after the investigations began,” he continued.

Chipotle officials are “confident that once DOJ and SEC review all the evidence, they will reach the same conclusion,” he added. “We intend to cooperate fully with all the agencies to help them get through their investigations, while staying focused on the running of our business.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [5].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout [6]