Toledo IHOP owner pleads guilty in $3M scheme

Investigators raid an IHOP on Talmadge Road in West Toledo in 2012.

A former Toledo-area IHOP restaurant operator has pleaded guilty to what the government called a scheme with the help of some employees to hide profits from IHOP's parent company.

57-year-old Tarek Elkafrawi, who owned or operated six IHOP restaurants in northwest Ohio and one in Evansville, Ind., pleaded guilty in federal court in Toledo Thursday.

READ: IHOP raids: Pancake houses turned into â??crime densâ??

Investigators said Elkafrawi's plan involved hiring illegal immigrants, manipulating sales figures and underreporting wages in order to avoid paying taxes along with royalties to the corporation. Tarek Elkafrawi and 17 other employees were arrested in 2012 after an FBI raid revealed criminal activity.

READ: IHOP franchisor drops owner of raided restaurants

Elkafrawi was accused of 53 counts that included money laundering, mail fraud and identity theft, as well as hiring illegal immigrants who used fake or stolen identities. His wife also pleaded guilty to one county each of money laundering and alien harboring.

Elkafrawi's attorney, Rick Kerger, said he and his client achieved a resolution that served everyone's interests.

A sentencing date has not been set.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)