Authorities: Flashy Va. restaurant owner who tried to fake death pleads guilty to bank fraudBy AP
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Va. restaurant owner pleads guilty to bank fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A flashy Virginia restaurant owner with a penchant for sports cars has pleaded guilty in federal court to a series of bank frauds totaling more than $50 million.
Osama El-Atari, 31, owned a small chain of steakhouses in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and was known for driving Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Last year, authorities say he disappeared after several banks discovered they had been defrauded.
He was thought to have left the country and Brazilian authorities say El-Atari tried to fake his own death, buying a death certificate there. He was tracked this year to Texas.
On Thursday, El-Atari pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering. He could face between 16 to 20 years in prison under sentencing guidelines.
Tags: Alexandria, Food And Drink, Fraud And False Statements, North America, Restaurants, United States, Virginia