The Encino brothers and their wives have been convicted of a fraudulent COVID-19 relief loan program; $ 18 million spent on luxury homes, jewelry and a Harley-Davidson

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An Encino man and several members of his family were among those convicted of a scheme to take out more than $ 18 million in COVID-19 relief loans.

Richard Ayvazyan, of Encino, convicted of conspiracy, money laundering and other federal crimes for his leading role in a family conspiracy to submit fraudulent applications for emergency government loans to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaves the downtown federal courthouse on Friday, June 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Two Armenian immigrant brothers and their wives in the San Fernando Valley accused of stealing $ 18 million in COVID-19 disaster relief funds by creating an elaborate network of fictitious small businesses to obtain emergency loans using stolen identities, false payslips and false income tax returns. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A federal jury found Richard Ayvazyan, 42; his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 37; his brother, Artur Ayvazyan, 41, and his brother-in-law Vahe Dadyan, 41, of Glendale, on Friday convicted of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Artur Ayvazyan was also convicted of aggravated identity theft.

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Prosecutors claim that the four people used false, stolen and man-made identities – like the created identities of “Iuliia Zhadko” and “Viktoria Kauichko” – to send fraudulent requests for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and the Economic Disaster Loan, or EIDL, relief fund. The claims were often submitted with fictitious documents, including false identity and tax documents and payroll records, according to the Justice Department.

With more than $ 18 million in COVID relief funds, the defendants made down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert, and purchased gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, watches from luxury, beautiful imported furniture, designer handbags, clothing and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, federal officials said.

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“In search of quick riches, the defendants have stolen federal funds intended to help Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic carnage left in its wake,” said Tracy L. Wilkinson, acting US prosecutor, in a press release.

Artur Ayvazyan, of Encino, convicted of conspiracy, bank fraud and other federal crimes in a family conspiracy to submit fraudulent applications for emergency government small business loans during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the palace Federal Justice Courts downtown on Friday June 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Two Armenian immigrant brothers and their wives in the San Fernando Valley accused of stealing $ 18 million in COVID-19 disaster relief funds by creating an elaborate network of fictitious small businesses to obtain emergency loans using stolen identities, false payslips and false income tax returns. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

On Monday, the jury found that the defendants should confiscate their bank accounts, jewelry, watches, gold coins, three residential properties and about $ 450,000 in cash. They face decades in federal prison during their sentencing hearing, which was scheduled for September 13.

Prosecutors say four other people have already pleaded guilty to the case, including Tamara Dadyan, 39, of Encino, who is the wife of Artur Avazyan and cousin of Vahe Dadyan. She pleaded guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering on June 14, and faces up to 52 years in federal prison upon her conviction on June 14. September 27.

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Manuk Grigoryan, 46, from Sun Valley; Edvard Paronyan, 40, of Granada Hills; and Arman Hayrapetyan, 41, of Glendale, also pleaded guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering. They each face decades in federal prison when sentenced in August and September.


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