News and Press Releases

Men Sentenced for Credit Card Fraud Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2011

Las Vegas, Nev. – Three men charged in December 2008 with stealing identities and using counterfeit credit or debit cards to withdraw money at ATMs and defraud businesses in Las Vegas of over $600,000, were sentenced today to prison for their guilty pleas to conspiracy, fraud, identity theft, and money laundering offenses, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

"Identity theft and credit/debit card fraud is a significant problem in Nevada," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "Federal, state and local investigators are continually working together to catch the individuals who are stealing personal identifying information and using it to manufacture counterfeit cards. To protect yourself, review activity on your financial accounts regularly and report any fraudulent activity as soon as possible in order to assist the authorities identify and prosecute these thieves. "

Arman Palikyan, 30, of Las Vegas, his brother, Hagob Palikyan, 33, of North Hollywood, California, and Ilyad Nazzal, 37, of Las Vegas, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson. Arman Palikyan was sentenced to 5½ years in prison and 3 years of supervised release for his guilty plea to trafficking in counterfeit access devices, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering; Hagob Palikyan was sentenced to 2 years in prison and 1 year of supervised release for his guilty plea to aggravated identity theft; and Nazzal was sentenced to 1½ years in prison and 3 years of supervised release for his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit money laundering. All three were also ordered to pay $225,332 in restitution.

Four other defendants in the case have also pleaded guilty. Armen Ambartsumyan was sentenced on May 17, 2011, to 42 months in prison; Danimyar Dosunkulov was sentenced on June 6, 2011, to 18 months in prison; Gary and Artur Ambartsumyan are scheduled to be sentenced on July 8, 2011. A fifth defendant, Vakhtang Gasparian, is a fugitive.

The defendants caused "skimming" equipment to be used by others at commercial businesses in and around Las Vegas to capture credit and debit card account information and personal identification numbers. The defendants then used the information to manufacture counterfeit credit and debit cards, which were used to fraudulently obtain money from ATM machines and money orders from Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets in Las Vegas. The defendants relocated the scheme from California to Las Vegas to evade law enforcement and regulatory authorities.

The investigation was sponsored by President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.

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