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Ex-owner of Toledo-area IHOPs, wife pleads guilty

Tarek Elkafawi admitted role in conspiracy to manipulate financial figures

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Law enforcement officials remove boxes from the IHOP restaurant on Airport Highway in Holland in September, 2011.

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Two weeks before their trial was scheduled to begin in federal court, former Toledo-area IHOP franchisee Tarek Elkafrawi and his wife pleaded guilty today to all of the charges against them.

Tarek Elkafrawi, 57, of Middleton Township near Perrysburg pleaded guilty to 53 counts, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, alien harboring, identity theft, and arson. His wife, Kelly Elkafrawi, 51, pleaded guilty to one count each of money laundering and alien harboring.

Elkafrawi’s seven IHOP restaurants – six in northwest Ohio and one in Evansville, Ind. – were raided in 2011 by federal agents. The Elkafrawis and 16 of their employees were then indicted in May, 2012 on charges that they hired more than 200 illegal aliens to work at the restaurants, using stolen, false, and multiple identities to under-report their income and qualify for government assistance programs.

In court today, Tarek Elkafrawi admitted his role in the conspiracy and admitted he conspired to manipulate sales figures, payrolls, and losses to avoid paying taxes and royalties to IHOP’s corporate owner.

A sentencing date was not scheduled.

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