Two brothers and their wives – all from Encino – have been charged in a federal grand jury indictment alleging a scheme to submit at least 35 fraudulent applications seeking more than $5.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief loans, authorities said on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Charged in a 12-count indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, were: Richard Ayvazyan, 42; his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 36; his brother, Artur Ayvazyan, 40; and Ayvazyan’s wife, Tamara Dadyan, 39.
The indictment charges all four with one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and six counts of wire fraud. Richard Ayvazyan was also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, the defendants used fake, stolen or synthetic identities to submit fraudulent applications for loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration through the Economic Injury Disaster Relief Program and the Paycheck Protection Program.
The defendants allegedly submitted fraudulent loan applications in their names, using fake or fictitious businesses.
Once financial institutions and the SBA approved the fraudulent loans, the defendants allegedly used the proceeds for their personal benefit, including to purchase luxury homes.
Among other things, the defendants used the money as down payments on a $3.25 million residence in Tarzana and a $1 million home in Glendale, officials said.
The indictment alleges that the four defendants received at least $4.6 million as a result of the fraudulent applications.
Enacted in March, the CARES Act is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artur Ayvazyan and Dadyan were arrested on Nov. 5. They were released on bond.
Richard Ayvazyan and Terabelian were arrested in Miami on Oct. 20 as they returned from a vacation in Turks and Caicos. They were released on bond and returned to Los Angeles.
The conspiracy and bank fraud charges in the indictment each carry a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison. The wire-fraud counts each carry a sentence up to 20 years.