Two Southern California Residents Charged with Credit Card Fraud
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 20-count indictment on Aug. 22 against Akop Dongelyan, 44, of Glendale, and Artak Vardanyan, 37, of Burbank, charging them with credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced. Vardanyan was arraigned today, with Dongelyan’s arraignment is scheduled for Sept.23.
According to court documents, Dongelyan and Vardanyan used counterfeit credit and debit cards to make fraudulent cash withdrawals of over $200,000 at ATMs in the Fresno area and in Southern California. The counterfeit cards were created using cardholder information stolen via skimming devices installed at various gas stations.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincente A. Tennerelli is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Dongelyan and Vardanyan each face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison for access device fraud, a mandatory two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.