Our network

Prominent scam artist turned informant found dead in truck | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Prominent scam artist turned informant found dead in truck

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.

Va. scam artist found dead in Prince George's County

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.

Like this story? Like WUSA9 on Facebook


Upper Marlboro Deals