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Defendant Sentenced to 70 Months in Federal Prison for Identity Theft Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2012

MEDFORD, Ore. - On October 15, 2012, U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Tigran Khachatrian, 46, of Glendale, California, to 70 months in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and possession of counterfeit access devices.

In December 2010, an Oregon State Police Trooper conducted a traffic stop on I-5 near Medford on a vehicle driven by the defendant and co-defendant, Arsen Dabaghyan. The trooper searched the vehicle after the defendants gave consent, and found 139 credit cards, false identification cards, and 123 gift cards. The trooper also found an MSP digital card reader, a GPS device, three lap top computers, four cell phones, a thumb drive, a digital camera and video camera, and papers with instructions regarding keypad configurations common to those found on commercial gas pumps. He also found hand written addresses from a notebook that showed locations of gasoline service stations in California and Washington. A detective with the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF) later analyzed the digital evidence and determined that one laptop contained software that could be used to generate credit or debit cards used in conjunction with a skimming device. The detective also found that the computer had software that included a program used to process data skimmed from bank cards. One cell phone also had photos of keyboards and credit/debit slots on service station pumps.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents were assigned to conduct further investigation and determined that the defendants were involved in the use of skimming devices that had been placed on gas stations in Washington to steal the credit card account numbers of victims. The defendants would then use the software and computers to create fraudulent credit cards using the stolen credit card numbers. Agents also found that defendant made purchases in Washington in 2009 using fraudulent credit cards. In addition, agents found that the defendant was involved in a $23,000 credit card fraud in Florida in 2011.

Khachatrian has prior convictions for theft in 1986, as well as identity theft, false impersonation of another, and forgery in 2003. He also had several convictions related to drug possession. Khachatrian will be on supervised release for three years after serving his prison term. The court also ordered restitution to be paid to the victims and forfeiture of the laptop computers, phones, camera, video camera and other equipment used to facilitate his crimes. The defendant has been in custody since his arrest on October 5, 2011.

This case was investigated by the FBI, Oregon State Police, and Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, made up of the Medford Police Department, Ashland Police Department, Grants Pass Police Department, Klamath Falls Police Department, Central Point Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, and the Department of Homeland Security and was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Judith Harper.

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