OC man imprisoned for In-N-Out Burger fraud scheme in Middle East

Cars exit the drive-thru at In-N-Out Burger on Friday, June 11, 2010, in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. (Adam Lau)

A Newport Beach man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for running a multi-million dollar fraud scheme that cheated investors with false promises of In-N-Out Burger franchises in the Middle East.

Craig Stevens, 56, was sentenced Monday afternoon, according to a press release issued by Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Stevens pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud, admitting that he fraudulently solicited more than $4.2 million from investors who were told that each franchise cost approximately $150,000, plus another $250,000 per year for royalties.

When Stevens pleaded guilty, he admitted sending an email to a victim in Lebanon that discussed a purported licensing agreement.

The scheme, which ran throughout 2014 from an Irvine location, fraudulently solicited investments when Stevens "claimed to have the exclusive rights to (In-N-Out) franchises in the Middle East," according to court documents.
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