“The greed and financial crime that targeted government assistance during the pandemic is an assault on tax-paying citizens and programs designed to help families and businesses in need. Thankfully investigators at every level are working to identify those who fraudulently cashed in on this financial assistance.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
LOS ANGELES –On June 6, 2023, Arman Grigoryan, 42, of Sunland, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining nearly $3 million in COVID-19 business loans and jobless benefit. He was also ordered him to pay $2,880,259 in restitution.
Grigoryan pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He has been in federal custody since July 2022 after a court determined he had violated the terms of his pretrial release.
During 2020 and continuing through late September of that year, Grigoryan used other people’s identities to apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through California’s Employment Development Department (EDD). Once EDD approved the false and fraudulent UI applications, a bank issued to Grigoryan and his accomplices debit cards containing the funds intended for the false identities. Grigoryan and others then used the fraudulently obtained debit cards to withdraw cash.
Grigoryan and others also used other people’s identities and shell companies to apply for loans intended to help businesses weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. They did so by submitting falsified payroll information and attaching forged tax forms as support.
Once the banks approved the business loans, Grigoryan and his accomplices then rapidly withdrew the COVID business relief funds by writing checks to co-conspirators and shell companies, and by withdrawing the funds in cash.
In total, Grigoryan caused at least $2,880,259 in actual losses through this conspiracy.
Homeland Security Investigations, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and the California Employment Development Department investigated this matter as part of the El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force.
Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown of the Major Frauds Section prosecuted this case.