Richard Ayvazyan, 44, and his wife Marietta Terabelian, 38, were members of a fraud ring based in Los Angeles, California, United States. They engaged a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds.
The couple submitted fraudulent applications for around 150 PPP and EIDL loans. To do this, they used dozens of fake, stolen or synthetic identities, which include names belonging to elderly or deceased people and foreign exchange students never returned after briefly visiting the U.S. years ago.
To support the fraudulent loan applications, Ayvazyan and Terabelian submitted false and fictitious documents to lenders and the Small Business Administration (SBA). The couple used the fraudulently obtained funds as down payments on three luxury homes in California and spent the rest on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, clothing, jewelry, diamonds, gold coins, luxury watches, designer handbags and fine imported furnishings.
In June 2021, a federal jury convicted Ayvazyan and Terabelian of leading a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain over $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds. The couple left the U.S. and fled to Montenegro after the trial.
On November 15, 2021, Ayvazyan and Terabelian were sentenced in absentia. Judge Stephen V. Wilson sentenced him to 17 years in prison and her to six years in prison.
Aside from Ayvazyan and Terabelian, four other members of the fraud ring have been sentenced. One is also scheduled to be sentenced.
On September 27, 2022, Wilson sentenced Edvard Paronyan, 41, of Granada Hills, Los Angeles to 30 months in prison. On October 18, 2022, the judge sentenced Vahe Dadyan, 42, of Glendale, California to one year and one day in prison and Arman Hayrapetyan, 39, of Glendale to 10 months of probation.
On October 25, 2022, Wilson sentenced Manuk Grigoryan, 28, of Sun Valley, Los Angeles to six years in prison. Tamara Dadyan, 42, of Encino, Los Angeles will be sentenced on December 6, 2022.
Montenegro has extradited Ayvazyan and Terabelian. The couple arrived in Los Angeles on November 17, 2022 and appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on November 18, 2022.