An Encino real estate agent was sentenced Monday to more than 10 years in prison for her role in a family fraud ring that stole $ 18 million in emergency loans for pandemics, mainly through counterfeit deals in the San Fernando Valley.
Tamara Dadyan, 42, is one of eight convicted conspirators in the fraud led by her brother-in-law Richard Ayvazyan. Ayvazyan and his wife, who used the proceeds of the loan fraud to buy a $ 3.25 million home in Tarzana, were tried on trial in June but fled after cutting off their ankle monitoring bracelets. Ayvazyan was sentenced to 17 years in absentia and his wife was sentenced to six years in prison last month.
The group made 151 fraudulent loan applications designed to save small businesses across the country from collapsing during the initial lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, prosecutors say.
District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson lamented the “audacity” of Dadyan’s crimes and said their “total disregard of the law” was exceptional. He found that she played an important role in helping Ayvazyan. The judge mentioned text messages the couple exchanged as they rushed to file loan applications – including some on behalf of the dead – before they ran out of money on the taxpayer bailout.
“Conversations with Richard Ayvazyan show that she was his junior partner or maybe more,” said Wilson.
Dadyan’s husband, Artur Ayvazyan, the ringleader’s brother, was sentenced to five years in prison last month for his involvement in the fraud. When they report to jail next month, the couple will leave behind two teenage girls, ages 1`3 and 15.
Dadyan’s attorney Jerry Kaplan asked the judge to stagger sentences so that one parent could continue to raise the children, but Wilson refused.
Kaplan described Dadyan as an immigrant who came to the United States from Armenia as a child and had built a successful career as a real estate agent. He called them “an honor to their community”.
“This lady was a fixture in the family,” he said. “Your brother-in-law happened to be a crook.”
Wilson invited Dadyan to speak in court prior to sentencing. She nodded no and instead let Kaplan speak on her behalf.
“The defendant wants to apologize to her community and children,” Kaplan told the judge.
Artur Ayvazyan, who was seen abandoned in federal court in Los Angeles during his June trial, was sentenced to five years in prison following conviction for conspiracy, bank fraud and other crimes.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Prosecutors had called for Dadyan to be sentenced to more than 21 years and described her crimes as “shockingly numb”.
“The millions she stole were for small businesses and working-class families who badly needed the money to survive when the pandemic crippled the economy,” they wrote on a court note.
The family fraud ring created bogus companies to maintain many of the loans and attached fake pay slips and fake tax returns to the applications. To open bank accounts for the companies, they used the names of people whose identities were stolen.
On the text messages, Dadyan and her brother-in-law discussed how to create fake pay slips and invent employer identification numbers that appear legitimate to government credit regulators.
When FBI agents searched Dadyan and her husband’s Encino home, they found fake identification documents, bogus credit cards, check books in the names of fraudulent loan applicants, and notary stamps and seals from state and federal courts.
Dadyan pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, bank and wire transfer fraud and money laundering conspiracies in June. She named her husband and his brother as co-conspirators. Her husband, in turn, blamed Dadyan for the fraud when he commented on his trial.
Dadyan later asked Wilson’s permission to withdraw her guilty admission. She claimed she relied on the attorney’s poor advice to urge her to accept the prosecutor’s demands in the plea deal.
Wilson denied that request on Monday. Dadyan’s new attorney Kaplan said she would appeal the ruling.
Christopher Fenton, a trial attorney with the Washington Department of Justice, asked Wilson to arrest Dadyan immediately, saying she had “every incentive to flee,” but the judge released her until January 5.
“There is no clear and convincing evidence that it poses an escape risk,” said Wilson.
Both Dadyan and her husband are awaiting trial for unrelated government mortgage fraud.