California Truck Driver Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Meat Theft Scam
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Artak Medjbarian of Sherman Oaks, California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by United States District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp for his involvement in attempting to steal $163,000 worth of meat products from Nebraska Beef. In addition to his prison term, Medjbarian will also serve 3 years of supervised release.
Medjbarian, age 33, was charged in May of 2012 by a federal grand jury in a scheme with others to steal loads of meat cargo, by pretending to be the legitimate freight haulers to whom authority to transport the loads had been given. The Indictment specifically charged a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to engage in the interstate transportation of stolen property.
The Indictment alleged that Medjbarian used the identity of a legitimate trucking company in Arizona to bid on hauling a load of meat from Nebraska Beef to California. Due to discrepancies with respect to the documentation forwarded by unknown co-conspirators on Medjbarian’s behalf, the freight brokers contacted the owners of the true Lopez Trucking, and determined that Lopez Trucking did not have trucks operating under their authority in the State of Nebraska on the day Medjbarian showed up at Nebraska Beef pretending to have the transport authority of Lopez Trucking. Omaha Police were contacted and Medjbarian was initially arrested on local charges which included possession of stolen property, due to the license plates on the tractor being plates to which the tractor was not registered.
Medjbarian had previously been detained by the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Medjbarian faced a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison on the conspiracy conviction.
In addition to the Omaha Police Department, the case was also investigated by the Nebraska State Patrol and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.