Los Angeles-area man pleads responsible to financial institution fraud for position in bank card ‘bust-out’ scheme used to purchase cemetery plots, luxurious vehicles

Los Angeles-area man sentenced to more than 21 years in federal prison for running $3.3 million scheme that used stolen identities of children

LOS ANGELES – A man from Glendale today pleaded guilty to leading a number of frauds, including "bust-out" programs, in which he and other credit cards, sometimes opened with "synthetic identities" and later used, were fraudulently used they spent millions of dollars buying luxury cars and cemetery lots that he sold at a profit.

As a result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) in Los Angeles (HSI), U.S. intelligence and the Glendale Police Department, Mikayel Hmayakyan (43), pleaded guilty to two cases of bank fraud and a count of heightened identity theft .

District judge George H. Wu scheduled a hearing on November 16. At this point, Hmayakyan faces a maximum legal sentence of 62 years in federal prison.

In his informed consent, Hmayakyan, the main suspect in the case, admitted to running a number of fraudulent programs, including one from November 2014 to September 2015, in which he used fraudulently purchased credit cards to add hundreds of thousands of dollars in alcohol and luxury watches to buy.

Hmayakyan and others received the credit cards – sometimes using their real names, but often with synthetic identities created from a combination of real and fictional information – that led to the credit limit. The members of the system then "paid out" by submitting payments from insufficient funds accounts or through fake accounts to restore the credit line, allowing them to make additional purchases.

As part of the program, Hmayakyan and others used the fraudulently received credit cards to buy a manager on behalf of the now closed liquor spot in Glendale, where 45-year-old co-defendant Vahan Aloyan from Glendale was located.

During the execution of a search warrant in 2016, HSI special agents and law enforcement partners seized more than 37,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks valued at approximately $ 300,000 from the liquor spot. They also confiscated nearly $ 13,000 in store currency, as well as nearly $ 13,000 and 37 watches and other jewelry from Aloyan's residence.

In criminal behavior dating back to August 2010 and continuing until April 2016, Hmayakyan fraudulently applied for a loan under a pseudonym to obtain a Kia Optima and on behalf of a real person for luxury cars, including Lexus automobiles, according to the objection agreement. Hmayakyan admitted that he never intended to pay credit card bills or make payments for the loans.

Hmayakyan also admitted that from March 2014 to January 2017, he used fraudulent credit cards on behalf of various aliases – including "Liam Sarcozzy" and "Marco Reus" – to buy property at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, which he later added a sold benefit.

The overall target for the financial institutions to face the loss was $ 5,232,383 under the defense agreement.

The 70-year-old co-accused Gayane Hakobyan from Hollywood Hills also pleaded guilty today. Hakobyan admitted that she had participated in the bust-out program by allowing others to open credit card accounts with the victim's financial institutions on her behalf.

Judge Wu scheduled a trial for Hakobyan on October 8th. At this point, she faces a legal maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

The 38-year-old co-accused Mikayel Hovhannisyan from North Hollywood pleaded guilty in June 2019 and is serving a nine-month federal sentence. Aloyan, the only remaining suspect, is scheduled to be brought to justice on October 6 on this matter.

This case is being followed up by the U.S. Attorney for the Major Fraud Section in the Central District of California.


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