Mohsen Youssef started a real pita factory in Montreal and a fictitious one in Connecticut. He is now charged with fraud in the U.S. He has won media praise for employing Syrian migrants. It seems as if the fake U.S. pita shop was a pretext for bringing in Muslim migrants as sponsored workers.
“One of the reasons I came to Montreal,” he said, “is to be close to where the refugees are, their home base so to speak, which is the Dorval mosque.” Meanwhile, “according to documents from the United States Attorney’s office for the district of Connecticut, between 2011 and 2015, Youssef ‘designed and executed a scheme to fraudulently secure financing from various banks and other financing entities.’” What did that money go for?
“Owner of Lachine factory that employed Syrian refugees ordered extradited on fraud charges,” by Jesse Feith, Montreal Gazette, March 14, 2017 (thanks to Gisele):
Facing fraud charges in Connecticut, the owner of a Lachine bread factory praised for employing Syrian refugees last year has been ordered extradited to the United States.
Mohsen Youssef, 26, is alleged to have defrauded several banks and lenders across the state of Connecticut before moving to Quebec and opening the factory last year.
According to documents from the United States Attorney’s office for the district of Connecticut, between 2011 and 2015, Youssef “designed and executed a scheme to fraudulently secure financing from various banks and other financing entities.”
The documents allege the financing aimed to secure funding for equipment purchases for Youssef’s company, Amoun Pita (also known as Amoun Foods), which was purported to be a flourishing manufacturing business.
“In truth, while Amoun Pita existed, it did virtually no business,” the case record documents say. “Youssef procured the financing through an intricate web of misrepresentations, including fraudulent documentation and fabricated equipment vendors and deals. The actual loss totals more than $3 million.”
On one occasion, it’s alleged, Youssef provided a bank account statement showing the company had an average balance of more than $850,000 in December 2012, when its actual average balance was $94 at the time.
According to a spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s office for the district of Connecticut, Youssef was arrested last week after his extradition was ordered in January. He reportedly did not refuse extradition and could appear in federal court in Connecticut in the coming weeks. Youssef or Amoun Foods couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Youssef’s pita bread factory in Lachine made headlines last year after hiring several newly arrived Syrian refugees.
In an interview with the Montreal Gazette last August, Youssef said he had been in Quebec for about two years after living in the United States, where he worked in the bread manufacturing sector. The factory had just been equipped with new baking equipment at the time.
Opening it was his way of giving back to the community, Youssef said.
“One of the reasons I came to Montreal is to be close to where the refugees are, their home base so to speak, which is the Dorval mosque,” he said.
Dorval mosque president Mehmet Deger had been working closely with the factory last summer to co-ordinate jobs for newly settled refugees.
Reached for comment on Tuesday, Deger said he was shocked by the news and spoke highly of Youssef.
Deger said he last spoke with him about a month ago. At the time, Youssef told him he was having problems with the bank but was still planning on starting production soon. He had recently paid a company to come in and rid the factory of a persistent mould problem, Deger said.
By that point, Deger added, none of the refugees who had been hired months earlier were still employed with the company. He said Youssef had told him he no longer had enough work for them after production was postponed….