Monday, February 18, 2008


Two more storefronts may be opening soon along High.

Restaurant owner accused of mortgage scam
Monday, February 18, 2008 12:23 PM

The Columbus Dispatch
DELAWARE, Ohio -- The co-owner of the Happy Greek restaurants was arrested Friday as part of a lengthy investigation into a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud ring that authoriies say operated in Franklin and Delaware counties.

Authorities on Friday arrested Gihan “Gigi” Zalat, 40, of Columbus, and charged her with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. She is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Delaware Municipal Court.

The Dispatch reported last year that law-enforcement officials suspected that Zalat and her husband, Mohamed Hassan, ran a fraud ring that involved foreigners buying houses in elite central Ohio neighborhoods.

Police have said real-estate deals were hatched at meetings in the basement office of the Short North restaurant location.

Real estate agents and mortgage brokers became suspicious when buyers began to offer sellers thousands more than the asking price for some homes.


Walker Evans said...

The article says the owners sold off their Short North location to someone else. So I doubt it will be closing.

cmhindependent said...

Yeah, I saw that the Dispatch followed up with a more detailed article last night about the situation and included the bit about them selling the SN location. Unfortunately, the owner's arrest does not sound good for their Gateway location. If she needs money for legal representation or if found guilty she will probably need to sell it. Another risk is that she doesn't have anyone to currently run the location so it will have to close temporarily or permanently. Either way it is another business that is in jeopardy in the Gateway development.