Per a KTLA report, the couple—identified as 43-year-old Richard Ayvazyan and 37-year-old Marietta Terabelian—are alleged to have removed their monitoring bracelets prior to this week’s sentencing. Over the summer, the two were among those convicted for submitting fraudulent loan applications requesting millions of dollars in PPP and EIDL relief money.
“The defendants in this case flagrantly defrauded government aid programs at the expense of struggling small businesses, and then used the illicit funds on luxuries for themselves,” Jay Greenberg, Acting Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said Tuesday. “This sentencing demonstrates the steadfast work of the FBI and our partners in bringing to justice individuals who use national emergencies as an opportunity for criminal activity.”
Ayvazyan and Terabelian were both sentenced in absentia on Monday. Ayvazyan was ordered to serve 17 years, while Terabelian was sentenced to six years behind bars. Both—as well as Ayvazyan’s brother Artur—were previously found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, among other charges. Richard and Artur Ayvazyan were also convicted on an additional count of aggravated identity theft.
According to a statement from the DOJ, the defendants were part of an operation that—through the use of fake or stolen identities—submitted fraudulent loan applications. All told, per the DOJ, those involved sought to get more than $20 million in pandemic relief money. The multiple defendants are alleged to have used fraudulently obtained money for luxury home down payments, jewelry, clothes, a motorcycle, and more.
At the time of this writing, the FBI was offering a reward of as much as $20,000 with regards to info on the fugitive couple.