Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts restaurants used in fraud scheme

Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts restaurants used in fraud scheme

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PHOENIX – Arizona businessman Frank Capri used restaurant licensing deals with country superstars Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts as a lure to defraud developers nationwide, federal authorities say.

Capri enlisted his mother and other associates to funnel money meant to pay for restaurant construction at malls into their own accounts, according to indictments made public on Thursday.

Authorities said they used fraudulent paperwork, fabricated contractors, forged signatures and false notary stamps to convince developers work was progressing on projects when it wasn’t.

The indictments come after an ongoing investigation by The Arizona Republic that began in 2015. The Republic documented how Capri negotiated deals to build Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts restaurants throughout the United States, then took millions of dollars earmarked for contractors and walked away.

The indictments don’t mention Capri’s background as a former soldier in the New York City Mafia. In 2017, The Republic identified Capri as Frank Gioia Jr., a “made man” in the notorious Lucchese crime family who was given a new identity through the Federal Witness Protection Program.

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