“Suspect, by suspect, investigators are catching up to the individuals who decided to steal from public funds during an unprecedented time in California and this country. A time when individuals suddenly found themselves without jobs to go to, and families were suffering. Kudos to those investigators and the DA offices that follow through with successful prosecutions.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
VENTURA - On April 7, 2023, Karapet Gasparyan, 41, and Grigor Gasparyan, 21, both of North Hollywood, were sentenced in Ventura County Superior Court to 300 days in Ventura County Jail and two years felony probation. The judge also imposed a four-year state prison suspended sentence on both men.
The Gasparyans previously pled guilty to unemployment insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit a crime and three counts of grand theft. The guilty pleas included special allegations, including committing two or more related felonies resulting in a loss of more than $100,000.
On August 6, 2020, a witness called 911 to report suspicious activity at a Bank of America ATM in Thousand Oaks. Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies responded and conducted a traffic stop. Karapet Gasparyan and Grigor Gasparyan were found to have 200 fraudulent Employment Development Department (EDD) unemployment insurance cards and more than $168,000 cash inside the vehicle.
Further investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the EDD and Bank of America revealed the Gasparyans had obtained an additional $199,000 in unemployment insurance benefits from ATM withdrawals at locations in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties between July 2020 and August 2020.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Wise, a member of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Fraud and Technology Crimes Unit, prosecuted the case. Full restitution of $367,000 was recovered from the Gasparyans.
“During COVID, organized groups participated in one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated against the People of California,” said prosecutor Wise referring to EDD fraud. “Holding all participants accountable for unemployment insurance fraud is crucial to deterring the next big fraud.”