Murder USA: PG Police charge gunmen who killed bank fraudster Osama El-Atari; buffaloed banks of millions
UPDATE: (Feb. 18, 2016) — The Prince George’s County Police Department arrested two suspects in connection with a fatal shooting in Upper Marlboro this past Saturday. The suspects are 29-year-old Eric Garris of the 12000 block of Derek Place in Waldorf and 26-year-old Taqwa Muhammad of the 8400 block of Stock Drive in Lusby.
Anyone with information on this homicide is asked to call the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go towww.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.
UPPER MARLBORO, MD. — Osama El-Atari, a resident of Loudoun County, Va., who confessed that he swindled area banks out of more than $70 million in 2010, turned up murdered in PG County. PG County is a pretty good place to dump a bullet-ridden corpse due to all the killings among the drug-dealing population of killers who haunt the streets, alleys and shopping districts of that beleaguered suburb of Washington, D.C.
Two great suspects with plenty of motive are now added to this tale of murder in Pretty Gory County. While in prison on a rap of raping a bunch of banks, El-Atari worked with feds to convict a terrorist and a killer by snitching on them in prison.
According to the Washington Post, El-Atari’s 12-year sentence was shortened and he was sprung from the prison cell early due to his singing like a canary.
“…while in jail in Alexandria and Arlington, he met a man accused of aiding the al-Shabab terrorist group and provided information to the authorities on him. Then, while in jail in Arlington in 2010, he met Jorge Torrez, a Marine accused of murdering a Navy sailor in Arlington in 2009. Court records show El-Atari wore a hidden recorder and captured Torrez discussing both the sailor’s slaying and the 2005 deaths of two girls in Zion, Ill., Torrez’s hometown.
Torrez received the death penalty in the Arlington case and is now back in Illinois awaiting trial on the slayings of the two girls.
El-Atari, meanwhile, sought a sentence reduction for his significant cooperation in the two cases, and federal prosecutors in Alexandria agreed. In May 2014, El-Atari was released after serving 51 months of his 144-month sentence.”
The Prince George’s County Police Department reported on Feb. 15, 2016, that detectives are investigating the slaying of the El-Atari homicide in Upper Marlboro. The victim is 37-year-old Osama El-Atari of St. George’s Court in Leesburg. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case.
On February 13, 2016, around 3:39 pm, patrol officers were called to the 9000 block of Armstrong Lane. The victim was found inside of a pickup truck suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives are working to identify a motive and suspect(s) in this case. They could start with a list of the banks he pleaded guilty to defrauding, as they just might have wanted to mark his fraudulent transactions as paid in full.
In 2010, El-Atari was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to swindling more than $71 million from banks.
He had fled the country in 2010 but was plucked from a Lamborghini showroom in Texas when he returned and brought back to Virginia for trial.
El-Atari started a financial empire as a teenager working The Deli in Sterling, Va., which he later bought and turned it into a chain which included the first Buffalo Wing Factory in the area. He also owned the Sports Theatres in Ashburn and Woodbridge, Va., as well as a hotel in Nashville, Tenn. With the Crofton Shopping Center in Maryland, he was able to fleece a Maryland bank as well.
El-Atari boasted of having a monthly insurance bill of nearly $20,000 to cover his fleet of luxury vehicles.
He pleaded guilty to using false insurance policies as collateral for loans from banks which were stupid enough to loan him the money without checking the validity of the loans, perhaps because loan officers were getting financial rewards for processing the loans. Thus, like most of the other great frauds of the past ten years, the taxpayers and stockholders of the banks were screwed once more.
In a sentencing memorandum written by his attorneys, Bernard S. Grimm and Katherine Yingling, El-Atari said a loan officer at United Bank showed him how to obtain fraudulent insurance documentation, and the two “began working together to falsify life insurance documents.”
The officer, Sissaye Gezachew, 32, an assistant vice president at United Bank, pleaded guilty in 2010.
On February 11, 2016, the con-man was reported missing in Loudoun County, perhaps the gumshoes in PG County will never solve the crime and no one will care.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.
Osama M. El-Atari, of Ashburn, Va., pleaded guilty on April 29, 2010, to operating a fraud scheme that stole more than $70 million from banks throughout the United States.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
“In a scheme rife with fraud, Osama El-Atari stole more than $50 million from banks and then fled the country when the scam began to unravel,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Thanks to determined agents, we tracked him down, are holding him responsible for his crimes, and have begun the process of obtaining justice for his victims.”
El-Atari held both Jordanian and American passports according to prosecutors.
“Mr. El-Atari’s lavish lifestyle was financed on repeated deception which ultimately caused tens of millions of dollars in losses to the banks,” said FBI ADIC Henry. “This type of greed and wanton disregard for others substantially harms the financial industry and consumers.”
“Money laundering constitutes a serious threat to our communities and the integrity of our financial system,” said IRS-CI SAC C. André Martin. “IRS-CI has the financial investigators and expertise that is critical to locating the money and prosecuting the offenders.” El-Atari gave enormous sums to politicians and charities from funds stolen from banks, said prosecutors.
El-Atari gave enormous sums to politicians and charities from funds stolen from banks, said prosecutors.
El-Atari pled guilty to three counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering contained in a criminal information filed in the Eastern District of Virginia and an indictment filed in the Northern District of Ohio.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, El-Atari acknowledged to defrauding banks in Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland of more than $53 million.
To accomplish his fraud, El-Atari presented the banks with fraudulent life insurance policies—with purported cash values of millions of dollars—as collateral to obtain the fraudulent loans. The stated purpose of the loans was for various business ventures. To facilitate his scheme, El-Atari set up fake domain names, used fake federal express mailings and fake e-mails to convince the banks that his collateral was authentic. El-Atari used money obtained from his fraud to buy exotic cars like Lamborghinis and Ferraris and to purchase a multi-million-dollar home in Ashburn, Va.