A Newport Beach, California resident allegedly pretended he had the ability to sell In-N-Out franchises — and now is reportedly going to prison, according to Buzzfeed.
Buzzfeed, which obtained court documents regarding the case, reports that Craig Stevens said he had ambitious plans of opening up In-N-Out franchises in the Middle East. (As of now, In-N-Out is a beloved West Coast staple, with some locations in Utah and Texas — opening a franchise in the Middle East would be a long shot.) With these grandiose promises, Stevens was allegedly able to swindle over $US4.27 million dollars from ten investors last year.
According to Buzzfeed, Stevens allegedly sold rights to investors for $US150,000 per location, with an added $US250,000 for royalties.
Most of Stevens’ alleged crimes had caught up to him. Earlier this year, Stevens was charged for committing wire fraud, the Los Angeles Times reports, for sending out a fake In-N-Out licensing agreement to someone in Lebanon last year. The Los Angeles Times notes that Stevens pleaded guilty in June.
Now, the Los Angeles Times reports, Stevens has received his sentence: two years in prison, which is expected to begin this coming January, followed by three years of supervised release.
In-N-Out has publicized that it has no plans of franchising — or even going public.
“The only reason we would do that is for the money, and I wouldn’t do it,” President Lynsi Snyder said in an interview with CBS earlier this year.
“My heart is totally connected to this company because of my family, and the fact that they are not here — I have a strong tie to keep this the way they would want it.”
Business Insider has reached out to In-N-Out for a comment and will update when we hear back.
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