News and Press Releases

Ashburn Man Sentenced to 144 Months for $53 Million Bank Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Osama El-Atari, 31, of Ashburn, Va., was sentenced today to 144 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for operating a fraud scheme that stole more than $53 million from banks throughout the United States. 

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office; C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office; and Rebecca A. Sparkman, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. 

            El Atari was sentenced on three counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering contained in a criminal information filed in the Eastern District of Virginia and an indictment filed in the Northern District of Ohio. He was also ordered by the court today to pay $53 million in restitution.

            “Osama El-Atari’s greed has earned him 12 years behind bars,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Especially in today’s economy, we are committed to combating financial fraud and putting those who cheat the financial industry in prison.”

“Mr. El-Atari defrauded banks for tens of millions of dollars and used his ill-gotten gains to purchase expensive homes and exotic sports cars, but ultimately he could not outrun the law,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Henry. “As one of our priorities, the FBI is focused on uncovering financial fraud schemes such as the one perpetrated here and protecting the economy and the public from the financial damages that they cause.”

“Money laundering constitutes a serious threat to our communities and to the integrity of our financial system,” said IRS-CI SAC Sparkman. “IRS-CI has the financial investigators and expertise that is critical to locating the money and prosecuting the offenders.” 

            In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, El-Atari acknowledged to defrauding banks in Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland of more than $53 million.  In order to accomplish his fraud, El-Atari presented the banks with fraudulent life insurance policies – with purported cash values of millions of dollars – as collateral to obtain the fraudulent loans. The stated purpose of the loans was for various business ventures.  To facilitate his scheme,
El-Atari set up fake domain names, used fake federal express mailings and fake e-mails in order to convince the banks that his collateral was authentic.  El-Atari used money obtained from his fraud to buy exotic cars like Lamborghinis and Ferraris and to purchase a multimillion dollar home in Ashburn, Va.  He fled the United States in May 2009 and was later apprehended in Texas in January 2010.

           This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office, the FBI Cleveland Field Office, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, with assistance from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. 

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

 

 

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