2 Men Charged With Defrauding Victims Out of $4 Million in San Fernando Valley Automobile Sublease Scam 

A vehicle that was listed by the suspects online is seen in an undated photo provided by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

A vehicle that was listed by the suspects online is seen in an undated photo provided by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

Two men have been charged in connection with defrauding a dozen victims out of $4 million in an automobile sublease scam out of the San Fernando Valley, officials said Monday.

Arman Mave Hazarian, aka Dean Hazarian, and Afshin Hashemi, aka Al Hashemi, both 47, were charged with 40 counts of grand theft of an automobile and six counts of grand theft. They also face allegations of taking more than $500,000 through fraud and embezzlement and taking property valued at more than $3.2 million, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Between August 2017 and February 2019, the men allegedly used ads online to convince people to lease or buy high-end vehicles and turn them over to the defendants who were supposed to sublease the vehicles at a profit. Instead, the men allegedly sold the vehicles to “unsuspecting buyers” and kept the cash. The victims were then left with the financial responsibility of the vehicles, officials said.

Some of the victims provided the suspects with multiple cars, resulting in individual losses of up to $750,000, prosecutors allege. Hazarian and Hashemi also allegedly defrauded the secondary buyers by receiving money for the vehicles but never signed over titles.

Officials said more than 40 luxury vehicles were involved, including brands such as Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Lexus. Some of the vehicles were never recovered.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol were involved in the year-long investigation.

The men are expected to be arraigned on Monday and the prosector in the case will request that bail be set at $3.8 million each.

They face 15 years and four months in prison if convicted.

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