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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Brothers Charged with Old City Arson Indicted Separately for Tax Fraud

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Imad Dawara, 39, of Swarthmore, PA and Bahaa Dawara, 31, of Woodlyn, PA, were charged by Indictment today with conspiracy to defraud the United States by evading the assessment of their income tax liabilities from 2015-2017. This Indictment is the second Indictment charging the brothers in criminal activities. On July 18, 2019, a grand jury returned a 10-count Indictment charging both Dawara brothers with planning and causing the arson of their business at 239-241 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia on February 18, 2018 in order to receive insurance proceeds from the destruction, as well as mail and wire fraud.

Today’s Indictment alleges that the defendants co-owned and operated multiple businesses including B-Side Complex, a nightclub and hookah lounge located at 927 North Delaware Avenue, Noche, and Baba Restaurant, which generated income that they concealed from the IRS by underreporting the gross receipts of the businesses. The defendants are both currently in federal prison because of the July 2019 Indictment for arson and fraud.

“As alleged in this Indictment, the Dawara brothers were engaged in illegal financial schemes associated with the businesses they owned and operated in Philadelphia,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “This second Indictment demonstrates my Office’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting all types of harm perpetrated against the government and the community at large. The investigation in this case may have begun with the arson on Chestnut Street, but it didn’t end there. We will pursue every facet of this case until justice has been served.”

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeanine M. Linehan and Katherine E. Driscoll.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyMcSwain on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated February 27, 2020