LA Couple Arrested On $5.6m COVID Relief Scheme After TCI Vacation

(LOOP NEWS CARIBBEAN) – A US couple was arrested last month in Miami following a trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands for their involvement in an alleged multi-million-dollar scheme related to COVID-19 relief.

According to a report in The Los Angeles Daily News the brothers and their wives, who are all from Encino, Los Angeles, have been charged in a federal grand jury indictment alleging a scheme to submit at least 35 fraudulent applications seeking more than $5.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief loans.

The US Attorney’s Office said the four charged in the 12-count indictment were: Richard Ayvazyan, 42; his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 36; his brother, Artur Ayvazyan, 40; and Ayvazyan’s wife, Tamara Dadyan, 39.

The indictment charges all four with one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and six counts of wire fraud. Richard Ayvazyan was also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.

The indictment stated the defendants used fake, stolen or synthetic identities to submit fraudulent applications for loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration through the Economic Injury Disaster Relief Program and the Paycheck Protection Program. They allegedly submitted fraudulent loan applications in their names, using fake or fictitious businesses. Once the fraudulent loans were approved the defendants allegedly used the money for personal benefit, including million-dollar down payments on luxury homes.

The defendants face conspiracy and bank fraud charges, which each carry a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison, and also wire-fraud counts, which each carry a sentence up to 20 years.

Richard Ayvazyan and Terabelian were arrested in Miami on October 20 after they returned from a vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands.