Brothers and wives billed under $ 5.6 million COVID-19 loan program – NBC Los Angeles
Two brothers and their wives – all from Encino – have been indicted in a federal grand jury indictment alleging a scheme to submit at least 35 federal fraudulent claims seeking more than $ 5.6 million. COVID-19 relief loans, the authorities said on Wednesday.
Richard Ayvazyan, 42 years old; Richard’s wife, Marietta Terabelian, 36; Richard’s brother, Artur Ayvazyan, 40; and Artur’s wife, Tamara Dadyan, 39, were indicted in a 12-count indictment released Tuesday night by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles, according to the U.S. prosecutor’s office.
The indictment charges the four defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire transfer fraud, four counts of bank fraud and six counts of wire transfer fraud. Richard Ayvazyan has also been charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, the defendants used false, stolen or synthetic identities to submit fraudulent claims for loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration through the Economic Damage Disaster Relief Program and the paycheck protection program under the Coronavirus Help, Relief and Economic Security Act.
The defendants are also said to have submitted fraudulent EIDL and PPP loan applications in their own name, using bogus or fictitious businesses. In support of fraudulent loan applications, defendants have often submitted false and fictitious documents to lenders and to the SBA, including false identity documents, tax documents and payroll records, according to the act of ‘charge.
Once the 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 a down payment on a $ 3.25 million residence in Tarzana and a $ 1 million house in Glendale, officials said. The use of the proceeds of the Disaster Relief Loan for such purposes is expressly prohibited under the PPP and EIDL programs.
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The indictment alleges that the four defendants received at least $ 4.6 million as a result of the fraudulent claims by PPP and EIDL. Enacted in March, the CARES law is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of statutory relief is the authorization of up to $ 349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job maintenance and certain other expenditures under the P3. In April, Congress authorized more than $ 300 billion in additional P3 funding.
The PPP allows small businesses and other eligible organizations to benefit from loans with a two-year term and an interest rate of 1%. Businesses must use the proceeds from PPP loans for staff costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the remission of interest and principal if companies spend the proceeds of these expenses within a specified time frame and use at least a certain percentage of the loan for wage costs.
The EIDL program is designed to provide economic assistance to small businesses that experience a temporary loss of income. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide range of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as maintaining health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments.
If an applicant also obtains a loan under the PPP, the EIDL funds cannot be used for the same purposes as the PPP funds.
Artur Ayvazyan and Dadyan were arrested on November 5 following a criminal complaint previously filed in this case. They were released on bail and are due to be brought to justice on December 3 and 4, respectively.
Richard Ayvazyan and Terabelian were arrested in Miami on October 20 while returning from vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They were released on bail and returned to Los Angeles, but a hearing in Los Angeles has not yet been scheduled.
The conspiracy and bank fraud charges in the indictment each carry a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison. Wire fraud accounts each carry a sentence of up to 20 years. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory consecutive two-year sentence, prosecutors said.