January 23, 2022 - Douglas Myser

Family gets prison for Covid fraud. Three members of a San Fernando Valley family have been sentenced two of them in abstentai after they fled justice following their convictions at trial--to years in federal prison for scheming to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Covid 19 relief funds. Richard Ayvazyan was ordered to serve 17 years, Marietta Terabelian his wife, was ordered to serve six years, and Artur Ayvazyan, his brother,was ordered to serve five years. Judge Wilson said he could not recall a fraud case conducted with such a "callous, intentional way wihtout any regard for the law." Judge Wilson also described RIchard Ayvazyan as "an endemic, cold hearted fraudster with no regard for the law", and "someone who views fraud as an achievement". Family gets prison for Covid fraud.

"The defendants used the Covid crisis to steal millions of dollars in much needed government aid intended for people and businesses suffering from the economic effects of the worst pandemic in a century," said United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison. These sentences reflect our office's determination to root out and punish wrongdoers who use national emergencies to defraud the government and the American taxpayer." The Department of Justice, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to use every available tool to combat and prevent criminals from exploiting national emergencies for their personal benefit.

"The defendants lived a lavish lifestyle by defrauding the government at the expense of small businesses and American taxpayers already facing financial and pandemic related hardships," said Kristi Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Filed Office. "The FBI is actively investigating the whereabouts of fugitives Terabelian and Ayvazyan and will pursue them until they are taken into custody top pay for their crimes." Once they are caught, and fined, they may need Tax Resolution Services. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to their arrest.