Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department announced the indictment and arrest of 12 individuals on 133 felony counts for allegedly operating a sophisticated mortgage fraud and green loan scheme throughout Southern California. The scheme resulted in a loss of approximately $15 million over the course of several years.
A Los Angeles County grand jury indicted Tamara Dadyan, Richard Ayvazyan, Artur Ayvazyan, Grigor Tatoian, Andranik Petrosyan, Artashes Martirosyan, Arshak Bartoumian, Lilit Malyan, Lubia Carrillo, Rosa Zarate, Estephanie Reynoso, and Vanessa Bell for conspiracy, mortgage fraud, grand theft, identity theft, forgery, filing a false or forged document, money laundering, as well as a special allegation for aggravated white-collar crime. Eleven out of the twelve defendants were arrested on April 29, 2021. Eleven of the twelve defendants pleaded not guilty at their arraignments on May 5, 2021.
The arrests were the result of a multi-year investigation led by the Los Angeles Police Department, assisted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG). The Fraud and Special Prosecutions Unit of the California Department of Justice is prosecuting this case.
Between 2014 and 2020, defendants collectively ran a scheme that used stolen identities to obtain mortgage and green loans. The identities belonged to real persons, some of whom were in state prison, had developmental disabilities, or were deceased. Defendants seized control of these identities and commonly constructed synthetic identities with the real identities.
In constructing the synthetic identities, defendants created email accounts, shell companies, and bank accounts. They altered tax documents, payroll statements, and bank statements to reflect the identities as high-net worth individuals. They also forged the signatures, names, and personal information of the identities on loan applications, financial documents, and county recorder documents. Using this fake construction, defendants applied for millions of dollars in loans from unsuspecting lenders of mortgage and green loans, which were subsequently wired to bank accounts within the defendants’ control.
As a part of their operation, defendants exploited Ygrene Energy Fund and Renew Funding. These companies provided funding to licensed contractors for energy-efficient home improvements for homeowners. Defendants also used the identities to obtain mortgage loans from conventional banks and hard money lenders. For years, they successfully applied for loans, culminating to a $15 million loss. Defendants forged court stamps, generated false court documents, or filed false bankruptcies to avoid responsibility for their actions.
“This was very lengthy and complex investigation. We are very proud of the work done by our Commercial Crimes Detectives and the lead investigator Detective Lyle Barnes. This case could not have been brought to fruition without their work ethics, tenacity and commitment to duty. The victims of these crimes deserve justice and due process. We are tremendously grateful to Attorney General Rob Bonta, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General and the Fraud and Special Prosecutions Unit of the California Department of Justice for their partnership and support.”
Arrest warrants were issued for all defendants with the following bail amounts:
Additional victims or anyone with information is asked to please contact Detective Lyle Barnes, Commercial Crimes Division, at (213) 486-6979 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.