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Press Release

Crescenta Valley Man Sentenced to More Than 5 Years in Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining Nearly $3 Million in COVID Relief Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – A Sunland man who fraudulently obtained almost $3 million in COVID-19 business loans and jobless benefits has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, the Justice Department announced today.

Arman Grigoryan, 42, was sentenced late Tuesday afternoon by United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who also ordered him to pay $2,880,259 in restitution.

Grigoryan pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He has been in federal custody since July 2022 after a court determined he had violated the terms of his pretrial release.

During 2020 and continuing through late September of that year, Grigoryan and used other people’s identities to apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through California’s Employment Development Department (EDD). Once EDD approved the false and fraudulent UI applications, a bank issued to Grigoryan and his accomplices debit cards containing the funds intended for the false identities. Grigoryan and others then used the fraudulently obtained debit cards to withdraw cash.

Grigoryan and others also used other people’s identities and shell companies to apply for loans intended to help businesses weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. They did so by submitted falsified payroll information and attaching forged tax forms as support.

Once the banks approved the business loans, Grigoryan and his accomplices then rapidly withdrew the COVID business relief funds by writing checks to co-conspirators and shell companies, and by withdrawing the funds in cash.

In total, Grigoryan caused at least $2,880,259 in actual losses through this conspiracy.

“When confronted with the COVID pandemic that has claimed the lives of almost 7 million persons worldwide to date, [Grigoryan] instead saw an opportunity to bilk taxpayers out of the emergency funds their government generously made available to ameliorate job losses,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Such criminal opportunism during a global health and economic emergency is egregious.”         

Homeland Security Investigations, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and the California Employment Development Department investigated this matter as part of the El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force.

Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown of the Major Frauds Section prosecuted this case.

Anyone with general information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at:


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated June 7, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-127