WAYNE, N.J. -- A Wayne entrepreneur and entertainer admitted Wednesday that he embezzled $13.8 million from a New York-based hospitality company where he was the chief operating officer while evading taxes on nearly $28 million in income.
A federal judge in Newark released George Dfouni, 47, on a $150,000 unsecured bond after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion.
Dfouni was CEO for Amsterdam Hospitality Group, which owned several boutique hotels -- among them, The Marcel at Gramercy, The Empire Hotel, Astor on the Park, The Bentley Hotel, The Blake and The Moderne.
AHG also owned the now-defunct day spa, Passione Di Arte, in Tenafly.
The Beirut-born Dfouni -- who also released musical albums and videos -- negotiated Manhattan hotel leases with millions of dollars in payments coming directly to him in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
After keeping agreed-upon signing bonuses, Dfouni was supposed to forward the rest of the payments to AHG, Carpenito said.
Instead, he "skimmed a portion of the payments due to [the company] to support his lavish lifestyle and gambling expenses," the U.S. attorney said.
In all, Carpenito said, Dfouni embezzled $13,807,034.
He also ducked income taxes by not reporting $27.7 in income to the IRS between 2007 and 2014 -- including the embezzled money, the U.S. attorney said.
U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden scheduled sentencing for April 30.
Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI with the investigation that produced the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Navarro of his Criminal Division in Newark.
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