News and Press Releases

armenian national pleads guilty to $229,000 fraud,
identity theft conspiracy

April 13, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo.– Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Armenian man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a fraud and identity theft conspiracy.

Artur Galstyan, 33, an Armenian national residing in Aurora, Colo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to the charges contained in a Jan. 25, 2011, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Galstyan admitted that he participated in a scheme to defraud credit unions and other lenders by purchasing $229,230 worth of expensive automobiles and jet skis at Kansas City-area dealerships from November 2009 through September 2010. Galstyan and co-conspirators submitted false information in credit applications made through the dealerships to finance those vehicles and jet skis. Galstyan admitted that the conspirators never had any intention of making the monthly payments for the vehicles.

Many of the vehicles purchased by Galstyan and his co-conspirators were promptly shipped out of the United States to the Russian Federation, leaving the lenders without recourse to recover their collateral. Among the vehicles were two 2010 Lexus RX350s (resulting in loss amounts of $57,962 and $55,252), two jet skis and a trailer (resulting in a total loss amount of $33,903), a 2007 Audi Q7 (resulting in a loss amount of $39,677) and a 2006 Mercedes CLS500 (resulting in a loss amount of $31,929). There was also a total of $10,504 in fraudulent credit card charges.

Galstyan and co-conspirators leased apartments and office space in Kansas City, Mo., to create the pretense that they lived and worked in Kansas City, when in fact none of the conspirators lived or worked in Kansas City.

            Under federal statutes, Galstyan is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Cowles. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

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