Armenia

Los Angeles, California’s Gurgen Israyelyan transferred stolen COVID-19 funds to family in Armenia?

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Gurgen Israyelyan, 39, of West Hills, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California, United States owned Saint Christopher Hospice Inc. (SCH). Based in North Hollywood, San Fernando Valley, the hospice agency closed around September 2019.

SCH was never operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in 2020. However, the agency received approximately $89,162 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund, which was designated for the medical treatment and care of COVID-19 patients.

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On March 18, 2022, Israyelyan pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of government property. He admitted to stealing government funds designed to aid medical providers in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and additional government funds intended to help small businesses during the pandemic.

Israyelyan admitted he spent the stolen funds for his personal use and transferred them to family members, including one family member in Armenia. He also admitted that he submitted or caused to be submitted five fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA).

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The EIDL applications were on behalf of SCH and four other entities that Israyelyan controlled namely Double G Ventures LLC, G.I. Construction Group, GMG Holdings LLC and One Touch Assistants LLC. As a result of the fraudulent applications, the SBA disbursed approximately $428,100 of EIDL funds to Israyelyan.

Expanded under the CARES Act, the EIDL program was designed to provide loans to small businesses that suffered substantial economic injury from the COVID-19 pandemic. Israyelyan was aware he was not entitled to the proceeds that he used for his own personal benefit.

On June 13, 2022, a federal district court judge will sentence Israyelyan. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts of theft of government property that he pleaded guilty to. 

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