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Chain Restaurant Magnate Pleads Guilty to $5.5 Million Bank Fraud Scheme

He owns Burger Kings, Macaroni Grills, and other chains.

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The owner of a number of franchises in Missouri has pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme. According to KY3, 68-year-old Bruce Swisshelm has two corporations that own and operate a number of Burger King restaurants, Macaroni Grill locations, McAlister's Deli outlets, and other chains. Swisshelm admitted in federal court to submitting false financial documents to a bank "in order to receive four commercial loans" totaling $5,592.583.

He faces three years in prison without parole.Swisshelm gave the bank fake documents that said his businesses earned a net income of over $780,000 in 2010. However, the tax documents Swisshelm sent to the IRS showed that his businesses actually lost over $1.8 million in 2010. The restaurant owner must now give the government the nearly $5.5 million that he received in loans, and he is facing up to 40 years in federal prison without parole. Swisshelm's son, Bruce Swisshelm II, admitted that he "knew about his father's bank fraud scheme," was personally involved in, and that he failed to report it. He faces up to three years in prison without parole.

Additionally, Swisshelm filed for bankruptcy protection back in 2012. He had apparently racked up over $200,000 in gambling debts to various casinos, and at that point had permanently closed one of his businesses.

Swisshelm isn't the first franchise owner to commit fraud. Last year, the owner of several Taco Bell locations in Washington was convicted of fraud for collecting his dead mother's social security benefits for over two decades. He pocketed nearly $100,000 worth of pension benefits and another $100,000 in social security benefits. He was sentenced to six months in federal prison.

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