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Glendale man sentenced for Ponzi scheme

August 3, 2009 |  3:18 pm

A Glendale man was sentenced to more than seven years in prison today for a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $14 million.

Antoine David Haroutunian, 47, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson to pay almost $10.7 million in restitution, including an initial payment of $850,000 immediately, officials said.

From June 2005 to August 2008, Haroutunian solicited investors through newspaper and online advertisements and claimed his companies, Luminous Wealth Management and Luminous Management, held investments in bridge loans, U.S. government-guaranteed loans and real estate investment trusts, officials said.

He promised investors 24% annual returns.

In reality, he made almost no investments and used the money to pay other victim-investors and for his own personal and business use, officials said.

At sentencing, Anderson said Haroutunian was worse than a thief.

“A pickpocket doesn't know the people he is stealing from,” he said, adding he was “a financial predator who had no compunction going back over and over to victims he knows.”

Haroutunian has pleaded guilty in two other fraud cases in which he stole $460,000 from Bank of America and committed tax fraud. He faces sentencing in those cases on Monday.

 --Raja Abdulrahim

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