Prominent scam artist turned informant found dead in truck | News
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) -- A Leesburg man who was a jailhouse informant while serving time for scamming banks out of millions was shot to death.
Osama El-Atari was found dead Saturday inside his new Dodge Ram pickup truck in front of an abandoned home in Upper Marlboro just outside the Beltway.
El-Atari, 37, was reported missing by his family Thursday.
Investigators have been silent about details into the death of the former restauranteur and car collector. El-Atari is probably more well known for his role in a Ponzi scheme that managed to scam several banks out of $71 million.
In 2009, while in jail for stealing from the banks, El-Atari met former Marine Jorge Torrez, who told El-Atari he'd killed a young navy petty officer named Amanda Snell in a case that had gone cold in 2009. Torrez then admitted to killing two young girls in his hometown in Ohio.
El-Atari turned informant. Jailhouse recordings he made put Torrez on trial for the double murder, freed an innocent man and sent another man to prison in a different case.
His deal with authorities earned El-Atari an early release from his 12-year fraud conviction and he walked out of prison in 2014.
El-Atari''s family in Ashburn declined to talk with WUSA9 about his murder, nor did his former business partners.
A complex character -- who committed crimes -- but who also helped put a serial killer on death row -- now his death at the center of a murder mystery.
Prince George's County police are offering a $25,000 reward for information about El-Atari's murder.
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