Washington DC [US], June 30 (ANI/Sputnik): A US jury convicted four California residents guilty of scheming to fraudulently obtain USD 18 million in COVID-19 relief payments for nonexistent businesses, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
"After an eight-day trial, Richard Ayvazyan, 42, his wife Marietta Terabelian, 37, and his brother Artur Ayvazyan, 41, all of Encino, were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Richard Ayvazyan was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated identity theft and Artur Ayvazyan was found guilty of one count of aggravated identity theft," the Justice department said in a press release.
A fourth defendant, Vahe Dadyan, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, the release said.
The defendants used the loan payments totaling more than USD 18 million to purchase luxury homes, gold coins, diamonds, luxury watches, designer handbags and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the release added.
Evidence presented at the trial showed the defendants used fake, stolen, or synthetic identities to submit fraudulent applications for the loans to the Small Business Administration (SBA), including fake identity documents, tax documents, and payroll records to execute the scheme, the release said.
The jury also found the defendants must forfeit bank accounts, items purchased and about USD 450,000 in cash, according to the release. Sentencing is scheduled for September 13. (ANI/Sputnik)