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NEWS
March 22, 2012
Four members of an alleged Armenian organized crime ring were convicted by a federal judge in San Ana Wednesday on charges of identity theft and bank fraud, prosecutors announced Thursday. The five-week trial at the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana ended this week, where prosecutors linked the four defendants to a crime operation that lasted six years and claimed $10 million from victims in Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. Arman Sharopetrosian, of Burbank, ran the operation while behind bars at Avenal State Prison and directed the co-defendants to illegally obtain information from investors' bank accounts, according to prosecutors.
NEWS
By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com | April 17, 2014
Glendale resident Rafael Parsadanyan was one of three men who were found guilty on Thursday of bank fraud and stealing the identities of hundreds of 99 Cents Only store customers . The other two men, Mher Darbinyan and Arman Sharopetrosian, were also found guilty for their roles in the scam. They reportedly had ties to an organized crime ring called Armenian Power. Prosecutors said Darbinyan obtained credit-card skimming devices and distributed to co-schemers who would then secretly plant them at 99 Cents Only stores across Southern California, resulting in a loss of more than $2 million for victims.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | April 14, 2014
Jurors have started deliberating in the case of a Glendale man accused of bank fraud and stealing the identities of hundreds of 99 Cents Only store customers. Glendale resident Rafael Parsadanyan is one of three men, including Mher Darbinyan and Arman Sharopetrosian, on trial for their roles in the fraud schemes, which were reportedly tied to an organized crime ring called Armenian Power. But Parsadanyan's attorney Andrew Flier argued that his client, who owned a cellphone store and reportedly has no gang ties, is innocent and lumped in with the other defendants.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | October 30, 2012
Five residents from the Glendale-Burbank-Pasadena area pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges that they used cash advance kiosks in casinos to steal more than $1 million from Citibank, officials said. Pasadena resident Asatur Asatryan, 33, and Glendale residents Ara Harutyunyan, 30, Artur Harutyunyan, 24, Seryozha Harutyuyan, 59, and Hilda Hakverdyan, 53, were among 14 defendants indicted on charges stemming from their alleged involvement in a bank fraud scheme dubbed “Gone in 60 Seconds,” according to the U.S. District Attorney's office in San Diego.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha | September 9, 2008
LOS ANGELES — A Glendale man pleaded not guilty Monday to two federal indictments alleging that he stole more than $400,000 from bank accounts and filed false tax returns. Antoine David Haroutunian, 46, pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles federal court. The two indictments were filed by a federal grand jury Sept. 2. Haroutunian stole people’s account numbers, signatures and identification numbers while he worked as a customer service representative from 2001 to 2003 at Bank of America, according to the first indictment.
NEWS
December 11, 2002
Ben Godar A Glendale woman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to bank fraud after stealing around $267,000 while a loan officer at a Downey bank. From January 2000 until October 2001, 39-year-old Ibell Abellon of Glendale funded 17 bogus loans through Southland Credit Union. Using names and Social Security numbers taken from other bank patrons, Abellon would approve loans and then keep the money herself. In a scheme known as a "loan kite," Abellon would even begin to pay the interest on older loans with cash from newer ones.
NEWS
April 29, 2003
A Glendale woman was sentenced to two years in federal prison Monday for abusing her position as a loan officer to steal the identities of her credit union's customers, officials said. Ibell Abellon, 40, pleaded guilty to four counts of bank fraud Dec. 9, after using the names and social-security numbers of several Southland Credit Union customers to obtain bogus loans totaling $367,995, Assistant U.S. Atty. Angela J. Davis said. Davis called Abellon's scheme a "loan kite," because Abellon would obtain funds for a car, using a VIN number from an account at her bank and open another loan to pay for the first one. Abellon funded 17 of these loans from January 2000 to October 2001, Davis said.
LOCAL
By Veronica Rocha | September 5, 2008
GLENDALE — A former Bank of America employee was arrested in connection with two federal indictments alleging that he filed fake tax returns and stole more than $400,000 from people’s bank accounts, officials said Thursday. Antoine David Haroutunian, 46, was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly using his job at the bank from 2001 to 2003 to get people’s account numbers, signatures and identification numbers, Internal Revenue Services spokesman Michael Moriarty said.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | December 6, 2013
A 52-year-old Glendale man was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $9.8 million to families, some of whom lost their life savings when they unwittingly participated in his three separate scams, including a Ponzi scheme. U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson described Kaveh Vahedi's Ponzi scam as “one of the most heartbreaking, vicious fraud schemes” that he has ever seen. Before Vahedi's sentencing, Pregerson said he read letters from victims, who as a result of Vahedi's scams suffered failed marriages, panic attacks, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and struggles with feeding their families.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | November 28, 2012
A member of an Armenian crime ring was sentenced Wednesday to serve 25 years in federal prison for orchestrating an identity theft and bank fraud scheme while in prison. U.S. District Court Judge David Carter sentenced Arman Sharopetrosian, 33, of Burbank, and his fellow lead co-defendant, Angus Brown, 36, of Los Angeles for organizing a scheme to steal bank information from elderly victims, forging their signatures and depositing checks made out in large amounts to bank accounts created by co-conspirators, according to the U.S. district attorney's office.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
April 18, 2014
Good morning, readers. Today is Friday, April 18. Forecasters predict a high of 71 degrees and a low of 54 in the Glendale region. The top headlines in your area this morning : Former Glendale mayor Dave Weaver, who ended his term last week, is accused of groping a woman and is currently negotiating a settlement to prevent a civil lawsuit -- but it's not the first time Weaver has faced allegations of unfitting behavior. Burbank police investigated a threat made by a John Burroughs High School student Wednesday afternoon after the student - who has not been identified - alluded to a teacher that the next day could hold potential danger.
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NEWS
By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com | April 17, 2014
Glendale resident Rafael Parsadanyan was one of three men who were found guilty on Thursday of bank fraud and stealing the identities of hundreds of 99 Cents Only store customers . The other two men, Mher Darbinyan and Arman Sharopetrosian, were also found guilty for their roles in the scam. They reportedly had ties to an organized crime ring called Armenian Power. Prosecutors said Darbinyan obtained credit-card skimming devices and distributed to co-schemers who would then secretly plant them at 99 Cents Only stores across Southern California, resulting in a loss of more than $2 million for victims.
NEWS
April 16, 2014
The Temple Sinai community celebrated the second night of Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt, with a seder Tuesday night at its Glendale social hall. A seder, a ritual meal that translated into English means order, includes the telling of the Passover story, which features Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, a description of the 12 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. Those who observe the eight-day holiday don't eat bread or other leavened food as a reminder that as slaves, the Jews had to rush out of Egypt, with no time to let bread rise.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | April 15, 2014
Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams, who was also chief of the Glendale Police Department for several years, has repaid the city of Bell nearly half of his $457,000 annual salary earned while he worked there. Adams paid the city via a wire transfer on Friday as part of a $214,714 settlement reached between him and the city, according to court records. Adams sued the city in 2012 for severance pay, then the city counter-sued Adams for his entire salary after he was ousted. Attorney Laura Walker, who represented the city of Bell, said the outcome was the best that could be hoped for the city.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | April 14, 2014
Jurors have started deliberating in the case of a Glendale man accused of bank fraud and stealing the identities of hundreds of 99 Cents Only store customers. Glendale resident Rafael Parsadanyan is one of three men, including Mher Darbinyan and Arman Sharopetrosian, on trial for their roles in the fraud schemes, which were reportedly tied to an organized crime ring called Armenian Power. But Parsadanyan's attorney Andrew Flier argued that his client, who owned a cellphone store and reportedly has no gang ties, is innocent and lumped in with the other defendants.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | December 6, 2013
A 52-year-old Glendale man was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $9.8 million to families, some of whom lost their life savings when they unwittingly participated in his three separate scams, including a Ponzi scheme. U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson described Kaveh Vahedi's Ponzi scam as “one of the most heartbreaking, vicious fraud schemes” that he has ever seen. Before Vahedi's sentencing, Pregerson said he read letters from victims, who as a result of Vahedi's scams suffered failed marriages, panic attacks, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and struggles with feeding their families.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | September 27, 2013
Six Glendale and Burbank residents were arrested Thursday in an alleged massive tax and bank fraud ring that resulted in the Internal Revenue Service paying more than $7 million in refunds for bogus claims - some of which were issued for deceased individuals. The local residents were among 55 defendants named in four grand jury indictments alleging they stole the identities of more than 2,000 people to claim in excess of $20 million in fraudulent IRS tax refunds, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.
NEWS
September 11, 2013
Eight people, including four who live in Burbank, Glendale and Montrose, pleaded guilty Monday to various charges, including racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud and identity theft, centered around the activities of an Armenian organized crime ring, authorities said. The eight are among the 70 people charged two years ago during a massive regional crackdown against the gang called Armenian Power. Fifty-one other defendants have pleaded guilty, according to a U.S. attorney's office news release.
NEWS
By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com | August 28, 2013
A Glendale man accused of stealing about $141,000 from the bank account of a Sacramento man so he could buy 96 gold coins pleaded not guilty Friday to federal fraud charges. Karapet Damaryan, 63, and his co-defendant, Garik Voskanyan, 30, of Rancho Cordova, were charged with one count each of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for the scheme, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney's office in Sacramento. Damaryan reportedly posed as the Sacramento man in May to gain access to the victim's bank account and to wire $141,395 to Placerville Coin and Bullion to purchase the gold, according to the two-count indictment.
NEWS
November 29, 2012
A Glendale man pleaded guilty on Thursday to running three separate scams, including a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 30 families out of more than $8 million. Kaveh Vahedi, 51, also acknowledged his involvement in a mortgage fraud scam where at least 250 falsified loan applications were submitted through his brokerage firm, Countywide Financial - not to be confused with Calabasas-based Countrywide Home Loans, which was ordered in 2010 to pay $108 million for overcharging struggling homeowners and mishandling loans of borrowers in bankruptcy.
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