A leader of L.A. pandemic fraud ring gets more than 10 years in prison

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An Encino real estate broker was sentenced Monday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in a family fraud ring that stole $18 million in emergency pandemic loans through counterfeit businesses in the San Fernando Valley.

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Tamara Dadyan, 42, is one of eight convicted conspirators in the scandal, which was led by her brother-in-law, Richard Ayvazyan. Ayvazyan and his wife, who bought a $3.25 million home in Tarzana with proceeds from the loan scam, were indicted in a trial in June, but fled with their ankle monitor bracelets cut off. Ayvazyan was sentenced last month to 17 years in absentia and his wife to six years.

Prosecutors say the group filed 151 fraudulent applications for loans that were supposed to protect small businesses from collapsing during the initial nationwide lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Lamenting the “shamelessness” of Dadyan’s crimes, US District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson said his “absolute disregard for the law” was extraordinary. He found that he had played an important role in helping Ayvazyan. The judge noted the text messages the couple exchanged as they raced to submit loan applications — some named after the dead — before the taxpayer ran out of bailout money.

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“Conversations with Richard Avazyan suggest that she was his junior partner, or perhaps even more so,” Wilson said.

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Dadyan’s husband, Artur Ayvazyan, the kingpin’s brother, was sentenced last month to five years in prison for his involvement in the scandal. The couple will leave behind two teenage girls aged 1’3 and 15 when they report in prison next month.

Dadian’s attorney, Jerry Kaplan, urged the judge to set aside the sentences so that one parent could continue to raise the children, but Wilson refused to do so.

Kaplan described Dadyan as an immigrant who immigrated to America from Armenia as a child and went on to have a successful career as a real estate broker. He called her “a credit to her community”.

“This woman has been a strong figure in the family,” he said. “His brother-in-law turned out to be a scoundrel.”

Wilson invited Dadyan to address the court before the sentencing. He nodded, instead letting Kaplan speak on his behalf.

“The defendant would like to apologize to his community and his children,” Kaplan told the judge.

Artur Ayvazyan, seen leaving a federal courthouse in Los Angeles during his trial in June, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, bank fraud and other crimes.
(Gary Coronado /)

Prosecutors had called for a prison sentence of more than 21 years, describing Dadyan’s crimes as “shockingly brutal”.

“The millions he stole were for small businesses and working families that desperately needed money to survive as the pandemic crippled the economy,” he wrote in a court memo.

The family fraud ring created fake businesses to obtain multiple loans while engaging fake payroll and forged tax returns in applications. To open bank accounts for businesses, they used the names of people whose identities were stolen.

In text messages, Dayan and his brother-in-law discussed how to create fake payroll reports and invent employer identification numbers that seemed valid to government debt monitors.

When FBI agents raided Dadyan and her husband’s Encino house, they found fake identity documents, credit cards for counterfeit businesses, checkbooks bearing the names of fraudulent loan applicants, and notarized stamps and seals belonging to state and federal courts.

Dadyan pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit identity theft, wire fraud and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. She described her husband and his brother as co-conspirators. In return, she took the stand at her trial when her husband blamed Dadyan for fraud.

Dadyan later sought permission from Wilson to withdraw his guilty plea. He claimed that he had relied on the bad advice of the lawyer who urged him to accede to prosecutors’ demands in the plea deal.

Wilson rejected that request on Monday. Dadyan’s new lawyer, Kaplan, said she would appeal her sentence.

Christopher Fenton, a Justice Department trial attorney in Washington, asked Wilson to take Dadian into custody immediately, saying he had “every incentive to run away,” but the judge let him go free until January 5. .

“There is no clear and convincing evidence that he is a flight risk,” Wilson said.

Both Dadyan and her husband are awaiting trial on charges of unrelated state loan fraud.

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