LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An Encino man and several members of his family were among those found guilty of a scheme to take out more than $18 million in COVID-19 relief loans.
A federal jury found Richard Ayvazyan, 42; his wife, 37-year-old Marietta Terabelian; his brother, 41-year-old Artur Ayvazyan, and in-law Vahe Dadyan, 41, of Glendale, guilty Friday of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Artur Ayvazyan was also found guilty of aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors say the four used fake, stolen and synthetic identities – like the created identities of "Iuliia Zhadko" and "Viktoria Kauichko" – to send in fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or EIDL, relief funds. The applications often were submitted with fictitious documents, including fake identity and tax documents and payroll records, according to the Department of Justice.
With more than $18 million in COVID-relief funds, the defendants put down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale, and Palm Desert, and bought gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, luxury watches, fine imported furnishings, designer handbags, clothes, and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, federal authorities said.
"Seeking quick riches, the defendants stole federal funds intended to help Americans harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic carnage left in its wake," Tracy L. Wilkinson, acting U.S. Attorney, said in a statement.
On Monday, the jury found the defendants must forfeit their bank accounts, jewelry, watches, gold coins, three residential properties and approximately $450,000 in cash. They face decades in federal prison at their sentencing hearing, which was scheduled for Sept. 13.
Prosecutors say four others have already pleaded guilty in this case, including 39-year-old Tamara Dadyan of Encino, who is Artur Avazyan's wife and Vahe Dadyan's cousin. She pleaded guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering on June 14, and faces up to 52 years in federal prison when she is sentenced on Sept. 27.
Manuk Grigoryan, 46, of Sun Valley; 40-year-old Edvard Paronyan of Granada Hills; and 41-year-old Arman Hayrapetyan of Glendale have also pleaded guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering. They each face decades in federal prison when they are sentenced in August and September.
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