Brothers Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Arson and Tax Fraud
PHILADELPHIA (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Imad Dawara, 40, of Swathmore, PA, and Bahaa Dawara, 32, of Woodlyn, PA, both entered pleas of guilty today before United States District Court Chief Judge Juan R. Sanchez to charges of conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
In pleading guilty, the defendants admitted to planning and causing the arson of their business, RCL Management LLC, at 239-241 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia a little more than three years ago on February 18, 2018, and to evading the assessment of their income tax liabilities from 2015-2017. Imad Dawara also admitted to fraud in connection with his receipt of health care and other government benefits including Medicaid, SNAP and TANF.
From around December 2012 until February 18, 2018, the defendants owned and operated various restaurants and entertainment establishments in Philadelphia, including a restaurant and hookah lounge at 239-241 Chestnut Street. As detailed in the Indictment, the Dawara brothers were struggling in their Chestnut Street business and had a years-long history of fighting with their landlord. By October 2017, the Dawara brothers had ceased all business operations at the Chestnut Street location and attempted to sell the business, but as they had failed to renew their lease or pay rent, no one would buy it.