TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – In a detention hearing Thursday, a federal magistrate ruled that IHOP owner and manager Tarek Elkafrowi must remain in custody until his trial begins.
Elkafrowi was indicted on several of charges May 23 as part of an FBI investigation into his businesses. Terry Elk, as he is also called, is accused of identity theft, money laundering, alien harboring, mail fraud, wire fraud, insurance fraud and arson.
Prosecutors successfully argued that Elkafrowi poses a flight risk if released because he has family, real estate, bank accounts and other ties in Egypt.
After the arrest last week, FBI agents recovered an Egyptian ID belonging to Elkafrowi, as well as a copy of his father's passport in his Middleton Township home.
The magistrate determined Elkafrowi is a flight risk and the defense's proposals were not adequate.
"There are a lot of allegations out there but that's all they are at this point, allegations," said Defense Attorney Stephen Hartman.
Hartman said he is disappointed in the ruling, but plans to appeal.
"I think the most compelling fact is that he was out for eight and a half months when he knew this investigation was going on, and he didn't go anywhere. He didn't try to go anywhere," said Hartman.
Elkafrowi broke into tears when his wife took the witness stand to testify on his behalf. Kelly Elkafrowi testified her husband was not a flight risk, and that she would ensure he stayed in the country until the trial began. The magistrate disagreed, sending Elkafrowi back to Lucas County Jail.
If convicted, Elkafrowi faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Meanwhile, IHOP's corporate owner, Dine Equity, has terminated its agreement with Elkafrowi and placed management teams at local restaurants.