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Armenian Power gang members convicted in identity theft scheme

Armenian Power news conference

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Four people have been convicted in a large bank- and identity-fraud scheme run by the Armenian Power gang, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The gang ran “one of the largest identity theft schemes in California history,” U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Bruce Riordan said in a statement.

Kristine Ogandzhanian, 28, of Burbank, was convicted Wednesday of two counts of bank fraud and four counts of aggravated identify theft.

Artush Margaryan, 28, of Van Nuys, Arman Sharopetrosian, 33, of Burbank, and Keren Markosian, 39, of Glendale, were convicted of various counts of bank fraud conspiracy, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to prosecutors, the four were involved in an identity-theft scheme that lasted more than six years and caused more than $10 million in losses to victims across four states. They used contacts inside banks to get access to their victims' bank accounts and financial information.

The four were among 20 defendants charged last year in the scheme. So far, 19 have been convicted. A final defendant was arrested earlier this year and is awaiting trial, prosecutors said.

The four defendants face a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for each count of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and a mandatory two years for each count of aggravated identity theft. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 6.

[For the Record, 9:43 a.m. March 23: A previous version of the post said Ogandzhanian had been convicted Thursday.]

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-- Paloma Esquivel

Photo: Charges relating to a series of financial scams were announced in February 2011 against members and associates of the Armenian Power gang. At the news conference then were, from left, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. Martinez; Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer; and Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney for the Central District of California. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
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