A former mobster who allegedly swindled Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts' restaurant chains out of millions has been indicted on fraud charges.
Police in Arizona arrested 52-year-old Frank Capri on Wednesday (05Feb20).
He has been indicted on 16 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, while attempting to defraud investors and contractors linked to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant chain and Rascal Flatts' RF Restaurants.
The arrest concludes a five-year investigation, during which police officials discovered Capri is actually Frank Gioia, Jr., a third-generation mobster who turned witness against a number of highly placed mafia members in the late 1990s in exchange for immunity.
He was enrolled in the Federal Witness Protection Program and given a new identity, along with his mother, father, sister and brother-in-law after admitting to crimes that included drug dealing and murder.
Law sources tell the Arizona Republic newspaper Capri launched a company called Boomtown Entertainment, and used it as a front for fraudulent real estate and restaurant deals. From 2009, Capri's company built 20 Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill locations across the U.S.
He allegedly failed to pay sub-contractors and swindled investors. Almost all the restaurants he opened closed within a year.
Capri then repeated the process with Rascal Flatts, who announced plans for a chain of restaurants in 2012, accepting advance payments on 20 locations. Only one restaurant opened, and it closed within a year, according to the Arizona Republic.
His actions prompted the country trio to publicly break ties with their own restaurant chain in March, 2019.
"Rascal Flatts licensed the use of their name, image and logo to the restaurant developer and had nothing to do with the construction or build out plans for these restaurants," a band spokesman tells the Arizona Republic. "The use of the Rascal Flatts name in association with restaurants owned by RF IP, LLC or Frank Capri is no longer authorised."
Capri is scheduled to face trial on 7 April (20).
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