Her attorney had successfully convinced a judge that they posed no risk of escape.
A Los Angeles couple who defrauded the government of $ 21 million in PPP loans during the pandemic are on the run, according to the FBI.
Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and Marietta Terabelian, 37, pleaded guilty to building a network of counterfeit businesses in the San Fernando Valley to secure 151 separate installments of Covid aid money – which they then used for multiple homes, jewelry and other luxury items expenditure.
Ayvazyan – the leader of the group, which included six other family members and friends – and his wife were convicted by a federal jury in Los Angeles on June 25.
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Investigators found they had set up bank accounts with stolen identities, filed fake pay slips and falsified tax returns to claim emergency funds to be used to sink businesses when the coronavirus torpedoed the economy.
Prosecutors wanted him to wait for his conviction in prison without bail and warned the judge that he posed an escape risk, the LA Times reported. But Ayvazyan’s attorney, Ashwin J. Ram, insisted that his client could be safely released while he was wearing a GPS ankle monitor.
US District Judge Stephen V. Wilson sided with the attorney and ordered the convict to stay in his $ 3.25 million home in Tarzana, which the government bought with the stolen money currently trying to seize legally recognized forfeiture.
“Even if there is simply no reason for Ayvazyan to flee anywhere, it would be impossible for him to do so if he could not even leave his driveway without the knowledge of the government,” argued the lawyer. “And if Ayvazyan wanted to flee, he would have already done it.”
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Last week, the couple requested a six-week postponement of the conviction on October 4, and prosecutors again warned that they would be on hiatus.
“The defendants also have access to millions of dollars in stolen money that the government has not yet been able to trace, which enhances their potential escape routes and resources to avoid detection by law enforcement,” they claimed.
They pointed out that the couple had been convicted of mortgage fraud (but not sentenced to jail) a decade ago, were currently pending trial on separate state mortgage fraud allegations, and had used fake or stolen identities in the past.
While the judge denied the extension request – it just seemed to increase the inevitable.
On Tuesday, the FBI tweeted the couple had run away: “The couple allegedly cut security wristbands and are considered refugees,” it wrote, asking the public for information:
(Corrected) Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and Marietta Terabelian, 37, were found guilty of a $ 21 million bank / SBA fraud and are due to be convicted. The couple allegedly cut surveillance wristbands and are considered a refugee. Please call 3104776565 for information on their location #TipTuesday pic.twitter.com/pyyGOMiVF4
– FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) September 1, 2021 @FBILosAngeles
The couple’s three teenage children are not said to have escaped with them.
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