FBI Announces – Four Face Decades in Jail for Fraudulent Covid-19 Filings
LOS ANGELES – The FBI has revealed results of an extensive government outreach to combat Covid- 19 Pandemic-related fraud. A federal jury is readying to see a judge slap consequences of accountability onto four fraudsters who schemed tens of millions in aid monies.
An eight-day trial found four L.A.-County schemers guilty on June 25th for fraudulently-submitting loan applications via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds.
The Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed that evidence presented at trial showed the defendants using “fake, stolen and synthetic identities – including the created identities of “Iuliia Zhadko” and “Viktoria Kauichko” – to submit fraudulent applications for PPP and EIDL loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under federal law.” The illegal applications included false and fictitious documents submitted to lenders and the SBA – including fake identity documents, tax documents, and payroll records.
Furthermore, “The defendants then used the fraudulently-obtained funds as down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert. They also used the funds to buy gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, luxury watches, fine imported furnishings, designer handbags, clothing, and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The conspirators obtained more than $18 million in COVID-relief funds.”
The four guilty defendants are:
Richard Ayvazyan (42), of Encino;
Richard Ayvazyan’s wife, Marietta Terabelian (37), of Encino;
Richard Ayvazyan’s brother, Artur Ayvazyan (41), of Encino;
Vahe Dadyan (41), of Glendale.
Each one was criminally-charged with “one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Richard Ayvazyan also was found guilty of two counts of aggravated identity theft. Artur Ayvazyan also was found guilty of one count of aggravated identity theft. Vahe Dadyan also was found guilty of one count of money laundering,” said the Department of Justice (DOJ).
As a result – the jury found on June 28th that the defendants must forfeit “bank accounts, jewelry, watches, gold coins, three residential properties and approximately $450,000 in cash.” The FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General investigated this matter.
“Seeking quick riches, the defendants stole federal funds intended to help Americans harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic carnage left in its wake,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “The verdicts in this case are the first in this district (the Central District of California) resulting from a pandemic-related fraud scheme, and we are prepared to bring additional defendants to justice as we continue our efforts to safeguard our nation’s disaster-relief programs.”
As a result, a June-30th announcement declared that U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson will preside over a September 13th hearing, whereby each defendant faces decades in federal prison.