|Plea reached in IHOP case|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK | Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 06 August 2013 10:53|
TOLEDO - A man indicted as part of a scheme involving a number of area IHOP restaurants, including one in Perrysburg Township, entered a change of plea in U.S. District Court Thursday.
Ramiz Awwad reached a plea agreement in a series of counts connected with the case in the courtroom of Federal Judge David A. Katz. However, the plea agreement itself was not available from the court on Monday.
Awwad was indicted on a total of nine counts, including conspiracy to harbor aliens, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, identity theft, and making false statements in the case, and was one of 18 people indicted last May.
The alleged ring-leader of the scheme, which involved arson at a IHOP in Findlay, was Tarek "Terry" Elkafrawi, who was indicted on more than 53 counts in the case. Elkafrawi and the remaining defendants are scheduled to go on trial Sept. 30
The Federal Bureau of Investigation alleges that Elkafrawi and others engaged in a number of criminal schemes, including money laundering, identity theft, alien harboring, and arson, centered around seven IHOPs owned in Perrysburg Township, Toledo, Holland, Findlay, Lima, and Evansville, Ind. Financial losses in the incident amounted to more than $3 million. The operation lasted form 2003 to 2012.
Elkafrawi owned a home in Middleton Township, just south of Perrysburg, which was reportedly raided by authorities.
Two other people indicted in the case pleaded and were sentenced in April.
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