November 30, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 6 gentlemen who utilised a chain of fictitious furnishings shops to steal $1.5 million and hack a Virginia server hosting economical details were sentenced to a merged 31 a long time in prison.

The 6 males — Mahmoud Aljibawi, Wael Jibawi, Yanal Khrisat, Mohammad Jibawi, Jamel Eljebawe and Alaelddin Aljibawi — pleaded responsible in April to 18 counts ranging from id theft to computer system fraud. Over a 5-yr interval, from April 2017 to January 2022, prosecutors say Wael Jibawi led the conspiracy, which utilised phony home furnishings shops to defraud lending providers.

The Scheme

At the main of the plan was the exploitation of “lease-to-own” financing organizations. The normal procedure for this type of financing, working with one of their victims, West Creek economical, as an example, is demonstrated down below.

Applying their network of 25 furnishings retailers — some of which have been respectable and some of which hardly ever existed at all — the defendants utilized for financing on behalf of clients as if they had marketed household furniture to them.

But they loaded out the apps applying stolen credit card and identification details. When West Creek and other “lease-to-own” corporations paid out the stores up front, the “customers” disappeared — and West Creek was still left on the hook for the selling price of the furnishings.

They also posed as the homeowners of a actual home furniture shop in Massachusetts, convincing West Creek to give them accessibility to the store’s accounts — then instantly drained them, taking the money for themselves.

And although the defendants dedicated the crimes in Virginia — defrauding Virginia-dependent providers and breaking into Virginia-primarily based servers — the defendants by themselves were being 700 miles away, in Chicago.

The Gentleman Powering it All

The sentences handed down in opposition to the 6 defendants diversified commonly, from much less than two several years for Yanal Khrisat — who was associated in just two of the groups’ myriad frauds — to additional than a 10 years for Wael Jibawi, the person prosecutors say masterminded the total operation.

“His conspirators noted that Jibawi also demanded at minimum 50 p.c of the proceeds produced by these frauds, usually supplied to him in income,” they wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

But in his own sentencing letter, Jibawi’s counsel wrote that he was pressured into devising the scheme when his family’s furnishings shop fell into credit card debt.

“His father borrowed money he could not repay to hold the small business likely,” they wrote. “He would regularly battle to retain staff he could not shell out and stock he could not manage.”

A table exhibiting the 6 defendants’ rates and sentences, offered by the Office of Justice, is bundled beneath:


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