Two Encino brothers and their wives face federal charges after allegedly fraudulently obtaining nearly $5 million in coronavirus relief funds for fake businesses, officials announced Wednesday.
Richard Ayvazyan, 42, and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 36, along with Artur Ayvazyan, 40 and his wife, Tamara Dadyan, 39, were charged in a 12-count grand jury indictment.
All four defendants face one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud and six counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Additionally, Richard Ayvazyan was also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.
They are part of an alleged scheme to submit at least 35 fraudulent loan applications and sought more than $5.6 million in funds. The defendants received at least $4.6 million as a result of the fraudulent applications, according to the indictment.
The defendants allegedly used stolen or fake identities, to submit fraudulent applications for loans through Economic Injury Disaster Relief Program and Paycheck Protection Program created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The made up names included “Iuliia Zhadko” and “Viktoria Kauichko,” officials said.
The defendants then allegedly used the loan proceeds for their own personal benefit, including buying luxury homes, according to the indictment.
“Among other things, the defendants used disaster relief loans as down payments on a $3.25 million residence in Tarzana and a $1 million home in Glendale,” officials said in a news release. “Use of disaster relief loan proceeds for such purposes is expressly prohibited under the PPP and EIDL programs.”
Artur Ayvazyan and Dadyan were arrested on Nov. 5 and released on bond. They will be arraigned on Dec. 3 and 4, officials said.
Richard Ayvazyan and Terabelian were arrested in Miami on Oct. 20 as they returned from a vacation in Turks and Caicos. They were also released on bond and returned to Los Angeles. A court hearing in Los Angeles has not been scheduled.
The conspiracy and bank fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, while the wire fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, officials said. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a consecutive two-year sentence.
The case remains under investigation by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General.