Former Connecticut Resident Charged with Defrauding Lenders of More Than $3 Million
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that on Oct 22, 2015, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a 14-count indictment charging MOHSEN YOUSSEF, 26, formerly of Vernon, with fraud offenses relating to an alleged scheme to secure more than $3 million in funding for his purported pita manufacturing business.
YOUSSEF was arrested in Canada on March 1, 2017, and has been detained since his arrest. He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and was ordered detained.
As alleged in the indictment, beginning in approximately October 2011, YOUSSEF defrauded various banks, a corporate leasing and vendor finance company, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, in a scheme to secure funding for equipment purchases for his company, Amoun Pita and Distribution LLC (“Amoun Pita”), and other companies he controlled. According to its business plan, Amoun Pita was a bakery that manufactured pocket pita bread from a production facility in South Windsor, Connecticut.
As part of the alleged scheme, YOUSSEF provided false information when applying for loans, lines of credit, lease financing and state grants, purportedly to finance the acquisition of new pita manufacturing equipment, other machinery and inventory related to his businesses. The false information included documentation that inflated the assets and income of YOUSSEF and his companies, as well as fraudulently created invoices purporting to document equipment purchases that, in fact, never occurred. In order to induce victims to rely on the invoices he provided, YOUSSEF created marketing materials and websites for non-existent vendors.
It is alleged that YOUSSEF caused more than $3 million in losses through this scheme.
YOUSSEF, who has dual U.S and Egyptian citizenship, moved to Canada in 2014.
The indictment charges YOUSSEF with two counts of wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count; 11 counts of bank fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years on each count, and one count of mail fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Quebec Provincial Police RELEX Unit, Montreal Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David E. Novick and Avi M. Perry.