Federal agents target 7 IHOP eateries in Midwest

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:03 PM
Federal agents target 7 IHOP eateries in Midwest

(Reuters) - Federal agents are investigating seven IHOP restaurants owned by a single franchisee in Ohio and Indiana, a spokesman for parent company DineEquity Inc told Reuters on Wednesday.

Local news reports said agents from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided specific restaurants. Six of the restaurants are located in Ohio and one is in Indiana.

DineEquity spokesman Patrick Lenow confirmed the investigations and said he was aware that the FBI was involved.

"The FBI has not provided us any details," he said. "It is our desire to gain details on the reason for the investigation."

Lenow said both the company and the franchisee were cooperating with authorities.

The restaurants have been cleared to reopen.

Shares of DineEquity were down 1.8 percent at $39.69 in midday trading.

A call to the Cleveland FBI was not immediately returned.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)