News and Press Releases

Defendant Defrauded Credit Unions with Phony Purchase Orders for Luxury Cars

October 9, 2009

EDWARD ASATOORIANS, 36, of Bothell, Washington, was convicted this week in U. S. District Court in Seattle of six counts of Bank Fraud following a seven day jury trial. The jury deliberated about three hours before returning the guilty verdict on October 7, 2009. ASATOORIANS was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals, and is currently being detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac. ASATOORIANS’ co-defendant, Maxi Sopo, fled from the United States to Mexico when he learned of the federal investigation. Sopo was tracked down in Cancun, and currently is in a jail in Mexico City awaiting extradition.

According to testimony at trial and records filed in the case, ASATOORIANS and Sopo recruited young, naive co-conspirators to apply for car loans for vehicles they never had any intention of purchasing. In some instances, the purchase order paperwork filled out by ASATOORIANS was for vehicles his dealership, “London Auto,” did not even own. In another instance, ASATOORIANS created a purchase order where he pretended to be “selling” his parents’ Mercedes to a young woman who had never seen the car. At ASATOORIANS’ urging and with assistance from Sopo, members of the conspiracy lied to the lenders about their employment and monthly income. One was a struggling college student, while the car loan application claimed she was employed and making $15,000 a month. Another told the credit union he was a head technician at an auto repair shop, when in fact he had recently been fired from a job as a cook. Sopo provided the co-conspirators with fake pay stubs to “document” the income.

In all, the loans that ASATOORIANS and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained totaled over $200,000. The money was used to try to prop up the “London Auto” car dealership, and for an extravagant trip to Las Vegas.

ASATOORIANS is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman on January 8, 2010. Under the sentencing guidelines he faces more than five years in prison.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Scoville and Thomas Woods.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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