LOS ANGELES - On December 6, 2019, two men were sentenced for stealing nearly $4 million in cash and luxury vehicles in a high-end automobile sublease scam in the San Fernando Valley.
Arman Mave Hazarian, aka Dean Hazarian, 48, of Tarzana was sentenced to nine years in state prison and Afshin Hashemi, aka Al Hashemi, 48, of Hollywood was sentenced to four years in county jail.
In October, Hazarian and Hashemi both pleaded no contest to three felony counts of grand theft of an automobile and one felony count of grand theft.
Hazarian admitted allegations of taking more than $500,000 through fraud and embezzlement and taking property valued at more than $3.2 million.
From August 2017 to February 2019, Hazarian and Hashemi used online ads to convince investors to lease or purchase luxury vehicles and turn them over to the defendants who were supposed to sublease the vehicles at a profit. The men instead sold the automobiles to unsuspecting buyers and pocketed the cash, leaving the victims financially responsible for the vehicles, according to court testimony.
Some of the victims provided multiple cars to the defendants, resulting in individual losses of up to $750,000.
The defendants also defrauded the secondary buyers by receiving money for the vehicles but never signing over the titles.
The scheme involved the loss of more than 40 vehicles of brands including Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Lexus. Some of the cars were never recovered, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Alex Karkanen.
A year-long investigation was conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol as part of the Taskforce for Regional Auto-theft Prevention.
“Task forces using the expertise of numerous law enforcement departments often proves beneficial to investigations and prosecutions,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “The investigators at DMV are sworn peace officers who provide great assistance to local, state and federal officers investigating cases involving vehicle theft, odometer tampering, ID theft and driver license fraud.”