March 13, 2018

Ex-Vernon man to serve 5 years following pita bread company scheme

A federal judge on Monday sentenced a former Vernon resident to serve more than 5 years in prison for stealing more than $3 million to fund a pita bread manufacturing business in South Windsor, authorities say.

Mohsen Youssef, 27, also received three years of supervised release following his imprisonment for defrauding various banks, a corporate leasing and vendor finance company and the state Department of Economic and Community Development, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Youssef provided false information on applications for loans, lines of credit, lease financing and state grants, purportedly to finance the acquisition of pita-making equipment, other machinery and inventory, authorities said.

Youssef has been in custody since he was arrested in Canada in March 2017.

According to investigators, Youssef in Oct. 2011 began defrauding banks in a scheme to fund equipment purchases for Amoun Pita and Distribution LLC in South Windsor.

Investigators said Youssef also defrauded a property owner who sold the land on which Amoun Pita was located. The court ordered Youssef to pay a total of $3.7 million in restitution to the property owner who he defrauded.

The former Vernon resident has dual U.S. and Egyptian citizenship and moved to Canada in 2014. In 2015, a grand jury indicted him on 14 charges with various fraud offenses.

Youssef pleaded guilty in October to one count of bank fraud and one count of mail fraud.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was assisted by the Quebec Provincial Police, Montreal Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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