WASHINGTON — Small businesses have been through a lot over the last two years, and as restaurants and bars attempt to bounce back the hits keep coming for one Adams Morgan restaurant.
Johnny Pistolas in Adams Morgan had about $460,000 stolen from their company accounts just before the new year, according to the business's management. To date, management said they are still owed roughly $230,000. The hack came hours before they were planning for a new New Year's Eve crowd in late December.
“It’s huge. We didn’t have any money to run our payroll. We had to borrow money from our personal accounts to transfer in," Jonathan Askarinam said. Askarinam's father owns Johnny Pistolas, and he manages the business's daily duties. "Imagine we’re coming out of two years of COVID and we’re just getting back on our feet and all of a sudden boom this unfortunate situation happened.”
According to D.C. Police Department's report, more than $476,000 was taken from the company's Truist bank accounts in increments of $25,000.
“It’s a terrible situation but the fact is the bank didn’t protect us, didn’t protect our money, and didn’t protect a small business," Askarinam said. "In about eight hours no notifications, no calls, no nothing, and $460,000 was taken out of your account. We reported it first thing in the morning as soon as we saw our account."
Askarinam said the bank's investigation was closed and the communication with them has since turned nonexistent.
"Luckily we were able to get some of the money back but we’re still down about $230,000 again it’s an unfortunate situation. A hard-working man who's worked his whole entire life and came here poor to this country and now has to deal with this, it’s unfortunate," Askarinam said.
Askarinam is warning businesses to stay up to date on all possible security procedures with their banks, as they themselves work to slowly get back on their feet.
“We’re just working our way toward getting back up and hopefully we’ll be there one day.”
WUSA9 reached out to Truist but did not immediately hear back.