California Couple On The Run After Being Convicted In $18M COVID Relief Fraud Scheme
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An Encino couple convicted in an $18 million COVID-19 relief fraud case earlier this summer have cut off their ankle monitoring bracelets and gone on the lam, the FBI reported late Tuesday night.
Undated photos of Richard Ayvazyas and his wife, Marietta Terabelian. (FBI)
Back in June, 43-year-old Richard Ayvazyas, his wife, 37-year-old Marietta Terabelian, and two other family members were found guilty of fraudulently obtaining more than $18 million in Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program funds.
The used the money to put down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert and purchase jewelry and other high-end items.
They were scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4 in Los Angeles federal court.
In a tweet late Tuesday, the FBI said the couple cut their monitoring bracelets and are considered fugitives. The couple have been missing since Sunday. Their whereabouts are unknown.
Evidence showed the defendants used bogus or stolen identities to submit fraudulent applications for the loans. In support of the applications, the defendants also submitted sham documents to lenders and the Small Business Administration, including fake identity documents, tax documents and payroll records.
The couple used the fraudulently obtained funds as down payments on luxury homes and to buy gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, luxury watches, imported furnishings, designer handbags, clothing and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
The FBI asks that anyone who has information on the couple to call 310-477-6565.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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