Virginia Man Defrauds Banks of $53M

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Washington Post
    Osama El-Atari posing next to his 2008 Lamborghini Murcielago in Dulles, Va., on June 6, 2008.

    A Virginia man's been living the good life at the expense of banks across the country.

    Osama El-Atari, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday to a scheme that stole more than $53 million.

    “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,” U.S. Attorney MacBride said. “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.”

    He presented fake life insurance policies claiming cash values in the millions as collateral for loans from banks in Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Phony domain names, e-mails and Federal Express mailings supported his fraudulent claims.

    El-Atari flaunted his millions, living a lavish lifestyle, the FBI said. He bought Lamborghinis and Ferraris and a multimillion-dollar home in Ashburn.

    After fleeing the county in May 2009, he was caught in Texas in January.

    El-Atari faces maximum penalties of 30 years on each of three counts of bank fraud and 10 years on one count of money laundering. Sentencing was scheduled for July 30.