A judge sentenced two Los Angeles men to state prison Friday for running a luxury car sublease and theft scam that netted nearly $4 million, authorities said.
Arman Mave Hazarian of Tarzana and Afshin Hashemi of Hollywood, both 48, each pleaded no contest in October to three felony counts of grand theft auto and one felony count of grand theft, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Hazarian additionally admitted taking property valued at more than $3.2 million, as well as taking more than $500,000 through fraud and embezzlement.
Prosecutors say Hazarian was also known as Dean Hazarian, while Hashemi sometimes went by the name Al Hashemi.
Hazarian received a prison term of nine years, while Hashemi was sentenced to four years in county jail, prosecutors said.
They ran a scheme between 2017 and 2019 in which they would persuade investors to lease luxury cars, then turn them over to the defendants to be subleased at a profit, according to prosecutors.
“The men instead sold the automobiles to unsuspecting buyers and pocketed the cash, leaving the victims financially responsible for the vehicles,” the DA’s office said in a written statement. “Some of the victims provided multiple cars to the defendants, resulting in individual losses of up to $750,000.”
Those who purchased vehicles from the men never received the titles, as the con artists did not own the cars, officials added.
“The scheme involved the loss of more than 40 vehicles of brands including Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Lexus,” according to the statement. “Some of the cars were never recovered.”
Investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, state Department of Motor Vehicles and California Highway Patrol joined in the yearslong investigation, officials said.
Hazarian and Hashemi were both arrested in March, booking records show.