Of the 19 defendants from Glendale, nine were charged with engaging in identity theft and loan, bank, and access card device fraud. Others named in the indictment face robbery and witness intimidation charges.
Eight defendants were charged under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Another eight face various drug charges, including marijuana cultivation and bringing narcotics into prison. Five were charged with gun-related offenses.
Among the allegations included in the federal indictments:
Montrose resident Raymond Tarverdyan, 32, was accused of installing credit card skimming devices at 99 Cents Only stores in Whittier and Riverside to acquire customer account information.
The discount store caught on to the $2-million scheme, authorities said, which reportedly started the investigation that led to the takedown.
Glendale residents Paramaz Bilezikchyan, 50, and Suren Torosyan, 38, allegedly kidnapped a man on Nov. 25, 2009, and took him to an undisclosed location where he was held for ransom.
Speaking in coded language, the indictment alleged Bilezikchyan warned Glendale resident Aram Petrosian, 33, who was charged, that he was worried their captive’s “heart was going to stop” out of fear when they showed him a large hole in the ground.
They allegedly demanded $100,000 to return the man and another $400,000 to avoid future kidnappings, according to the indictment.
The kidnapping earned Bilezikchyan $200,000, which he offered to spilt with another defendant, according to the indictment.
Glendale resident Ara Fermanyan, 23, was also accused in the indictment of robbing someone at gunpoint at a Burbank gas station in June 2007.