A Tarzana couple is on the run from federal authorities after they sliced off their monitoring bracelets and fled while awaiting sentencing for the theft of millions of dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief funds, the FBI said late Tuesday.
Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and Marietta Terabelian, 37, were convicted in June of conspiring with family members to fraudulently secure at least $18 million in emergency relief money.
They created an elaborate web of fictitious San Fernando Valley businesses to secure loans under the Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs.
The FBI’s Los Angeles office said on Twitter that the two are now considered fugitives.
They were scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 4.
“They have international ties as well as local ties but we’re not ruling anything out as to where they may have fled,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
Federal authorities believe that the couple fled on Sunday afternoon from the $3.25-million house in Tarzana that they bought with the loan money they stole, she said. They were convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to launder money and related crimes.
Court records showed the couple used a number of Los Angeles shell companies set up with stolen identities, forged tax returns and fake payrolls to collect the taxpayer bailout money.
By August 2020, the group had applied for 151 loans to mainly sham businesses, some of them named after real ones.
On June 25, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Ayvazyan, Terabelian and two relatives of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to launder money and related crimes. Four accomplices pleaded guilty on the eve of trial.
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