crimes

California’s Richard Ayvazyan, Artur Ayvazyan, Marietta Terabelian stole $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds?

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Richard Ayvazyan, 43, Artur Ayvazyan, 41, and Marietta Terabelian, 37, of Encino, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California, United States allegedly schemed to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds. Richard is Terabelian’s husband and Artur’s brother.

On June 25, 2021, a federal jury found Richard, Artur and Terabelian guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, eight counts of bank fraud and 11 counts of wire fraud. The brothers were also convicted of aggravated identity theft.

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On June 28, 2021, the jury further found that Richard and Terabelian must forfeit bank accounts, jewelry, watches, gold coins, three residential properties and approximately $450,000 in cash. On August 29, 2021, the couple cut their tracking bracelets and went on the run.

On November 15, 2021, Artur, Richard and Terabelian were sentenced to years in prison. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson described Richard as a person who “views fraud as an achievement” and “an endemic, cold-hearted fraudster with no regard for the law.”

Richard and Terabelian were sentenced in absentia since they are still on the run. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the couple’s arrest.

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Wilson sentenced Richard to 17 years in federal prison and Terabelian to six years. Artur was ordered to serve five years.

FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office assistant director in charge Kristi K. Johnson said Artur, Richard and Terabelian “lived a lavish lifestyle by defrauding the government at the expense of small businesses and American taxpayers already facing financial and pandemic-related hardship.” Johnson added that the FBI is actively investigating Richard and Terabelian’s whereabouts.

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