PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Two brothers have each been sentenced to nine years in prison for setting fire to their hookah lounge in Philadelphia as they struggled with business losses, causing more than $20 million in damages to a retail block in the city’s historic area.
Imad Dawara, 40, of Swarthmore, and Bahaa Dawara, 32, of Woodlyn, received their sentences this week, federal prosecutors said Thursday. They had pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to defraud the United States.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Body Of Missing 26-Year-Old Casey Johnston Recovered, Officials Say
This is a photo of Imad Dawara that appears to be from his Facebook.
He was ordered to serve nine years in federal prison on Tuesday.
“The judge thought anyone that was capable of doing that, risking lives, had to have some sense of evil,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanine Linehan said.READ MORE: Colts' Carson Wentz Choosing Rest, Rehab For Foot Injury, Remains Out Indefinitely
Linehan says it was very lucky no one was killed.
“I think the victims are happy to put this behind them and this is a just and fair resolution to a horrible case,” Linehan said.
The February 2018 fire burned for nine hours and left the block of restaurants, retail stores and apartments in Old City shuttered for months. Approximately 160 people were displaced, and a few of the businesses never reopened.
Besides their prison terms, the Dawaras — who used gasoline to start the blaze — must also pay $22 million in restitution. Authorities have said the pair took out $750,000 in insurance weeks before the blaze.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Fire Crews Battle Junkyard Fire In Port Richmond
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