An Armenian in the United States was jailed for 6 years for bank fraud involving $1,7 million.
A California resident of Armenian descent was sentenced on September 19 to more than 6 years in prison for organizing check and passport fraud. He defrauded major banks of $1,7 million, reports US Department of Justice.
The ringleader and mastermind of a check fraud scheme who conspired with his wife and other family members to defraud major banks of more than $1,7 million has been sentenced to 81 months in prison.
In April 2021, Ara Malkhasian, 52, of Winnetka, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
From May 2015 to September 2017, Malkhasyan and his accomplices gained access to genuine Armenian passports issued to other people. They pasted in their photographs and used these fake passports to obtain other identification documents and to open bank accounts. They needed all this so that they could then allegedly deposit money into the account through counterfeit checks. After that, the money was quickly withdrawn.
They used banking rules that allowed them to transfer money from one account to another and then immediately withdraw funds from ATMs at casinos in Las Vegas and other locations before the checks bounced.
In total, Malkhasyan and his accomplices used fake Armenian passports 331 times and illegally received $1 from Bank of America.
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In another scheme, from April 2017 to May 2019, Malkhasyan conspired with his brother-in-law, Smbat Khechumyan, 41, of North Hollywood. One of them opened an account at Wells Fargo using a stolen Armenian passport, deposited fraudulent checks into the account, and then withdrew funds from the account through ATMs at a Las Vegas casino. Wells Fargo suffered a loss of $401.
In October 2021, Khechoumian pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He is serving a two-year prison sentence for his crimes.
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Sveta Khechumyan, 49, of Winnetka, Malkhasyan's wife and Smbat's sister, pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 3.
In total, prosecutors obtained guilty pleas from nine people in this case.
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