News and Press Releases

SEATTLE AREA MAN SENTENCED IN “LIES FOR LOANS” SCHEME Defendant Defrauded Credit Unions with Phony Purchase Orders for Luxury Cars

January 8, 2010

EDWARD ASATOORIANS, 36, of Mill Creek, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 41months in prison, five years of supervised release, and $112,700 in restitution for six counts of Bank Fraud. ASATOORIANS was convicted October 7, 2009, following a seven day jury trial. The jury deliberated about two and a half hours before returning the guilty verdict. U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman imposed the sentence.

According to testimony at trial and records filed in the case, ASATOORIANS and co-defedant Maxi 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. At ASATOORIANS’ urging and with assistance from Sopo, members of the conspiracy lied to the lenders about their employment and monthly income. For example, one struggling college student claimed on her loan application that she was employed and making $15,000 a month. ASATOORIANS and Sopo conspired to generate fake pay stubs to “document” the income.

In all, the credit unions were defrauded of some $200,000. The money was used to fund the “London Auto” car dealership, and for personal expenses, including an extravagant trip to Las Vegas.

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.

In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Michael Scoville wrote to the court that it is telling ASATOORIANS has a previous conviction for bank fraud. “Asatoorians has, in the past, engaged in criminal conduct very similar to the conduct for which he is now being sentenced; he was prosecuted federally for that conduct; and he apparently learned nothing from that experience, other than perhaps the lesson that even cooperators can be sent to jail for significant periods of time,” Mr. Scoville wrote in his sentencing memo.

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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