The former owner of Embeya restaurant in the West Loop has allegedly been caught in Spain, according to Spanish newspaper Las Provincias.
Attila Gyulai, 46, was vacationing in Valencia, Spain, when he was arrested in late December, according to the newspaper.
Embeya opened in September 2012 to excellent reviews but suddenly shuttered in June 2016.
In February, an arrest warrant was filed for Gyulai, who was charged with wire fraud; he’s accused of swindling his fellow investors of $300,000.
That sum is merely one of many that Gyulai may have taken. In early 2014, authorities said Gyulai paid himself and his wife $140,000 as part of a disbursement to shareholders that they didn’t qualify for. He also allegedly transferred $65,000 from the restaurant’s accounts to his own that year.
Gyulai also allegedly took another $15,000 from Embeya in 2016 and put it in a personal account. And days before the restaurant closed authorities say he took another $103,750 for his personal coffers, wiring most of it to Canada.
Mike Leonard of Leonard Meyer LLP said Gyulai’s arrest is “great news.” He’s representing the restaurant’s former executive chef, Thai Dang, who sued for $90,000 in unpaid wages and found through his lawsuit that Gyulai had been stealing money, the feds say.
“Although [Dang and his wife] have already obtained a substantial civil judgment against him, it is unclear what happened to the money with which he absconded and whether any of it is available to satisfy that judgment,” Leonard said in a statement. “Nonetheless, it is hoped that justice can be obtained through the criminal system for all of the employees and others that he left holding the bag.”
Contributing: Jon Seidel