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Chicago restaurateur facing wire fraud charges

A few years ago, Chicago restaurant reviewers wrote of Embeya’s modern Asian menu. The West Loop restaurant featured salmon tartare, poached octopus, mustard-laced avocado puree and much more that delighted diners.

The former owner of the eatery was recently in a federal courtroom for a hearing on whether he could be released from custody after being arrested last December in Spain. Attila Gyulai, 47, was charged with wire fraud after prosecutors alleged that he defrauded investors of approximately $300,000.

The restaurateur and his wife opened the Asian fusion restaurant in the 500 block of West Randolph back in September of 2012. Reviewers loved its eclectic fare, but Embeya was shut down without notice about four years ago,

In a recent news article, the Chicago Tribune reported that “Gyulai left the United States around the same time.” He apparently traveled to Mexico, Hungary, Ecuador and other countries. He has told the court that he did not know of any pending criminal charges during his travels to care for ailing relatives.

While the judge said he recognized that there is a flight risk, he agreed to allow Gyulai's release with a $250,000 secured bond. He must also live under house arrest in a friend’s home on the condition that the friend passes a background check.

Gyulai must also surrender his passport to the court.

Prosecutors claim that Gyulai and his wife indulged in lavish vacations while Embeya was open and flourishing. At the same time, they say, shareholders waited to reap the financial rewards of their investments.

A lawsuit filed against Gyulai by the restaurant’s executive chef over allegedly unpaid wages reportedly uncovered financial irregularities which eventually led to the restauranteur’s arrest.

These kinds of complex allegations require legal representation that can assemble a team of financial analysts, forensic accountants and other specialists trained in unraveling complicated evidence and then defending rights and freedom.

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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