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Ex-IHOP employee gets prison for setting fire

A former International House of Pancakes employee who admitted setting fire to the IHOP in Findlay has been sentenced to 41 months in prison.

Jose Leon-Gonzalez also was ordered Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge David Katz to pay nearly $1.4 million in restitution — a bill that is to be shared with any other co-defendants convicted of arson in the case.

Leon-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to arson, while charges of alien harboring and use of fire or explosive to commit a felony were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Federal prosecutors said he set the fire in 2008 at the direction of IHOP franchisee Tarek Elkafrawi in order to file a fraudulent insurance claim.

Mr. Elkafrawi, whose case has not yet gone to trial, and 17 of his associates were indicted in 2012 on a variety of federal charges alleging money laundering, identity theft, alien harboring, and arson that centered around seven IHOP restaurants in northwest Ohio and Indiana.

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