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Inmates who ran ID theft ring from prison get 25 years

Two men associated with the Armenian Power gang were each sentenced to 25 years in federal prison Wednesday on charges of perpetrating a sophisticated identity theft ring from lockup, according to the United States attorney’s office.

Angus Brown, 36, whose nickname is “Homicide,” and Arman Sharopetrosian, 33, known as “Horse,” were two of the 20 defendants named in an indictment last year related to an identify theft scheme that looted at least $8 million, authorities said.

Under the scheme, which involved the Armenian Power gang working in concert with other street gangs, bank insiders were bribed to steal personal information from mostly elderly victims whose signatures were forged, with big checks deposited into phony accounts, authorities said.

Brown and Sharopetrosian had been convicted of running the identity theft ring from Avenal State Prison in the Central Valley.

Brown had already been serving time at the prison for identity theft, authorities said, while Sharopetrosian had been serving time for shooting at an occupied vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon.

Prosecutors said the fraud ring picked elderly victims because they were less likely to keep watch of their accounts by the Internet.

All 20 defendants were convicted and most are expected to be sentenced in the coming months, authorities said.

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--Christopher Goffard

 
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