A Van Nuys man was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for laundering more than $860,000 in funds that were the proceeds of a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. 

IRS spokeswoman Linda Lowery said Karen Aharonian, 37, formerly of Glendale, received the sentence from United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.

According to documents filed with the court, Aharonian pleaded guilty in July to four of a seven-count indictment charging him with laundering the proceeds of a scheme to

defraud the IRS through the submission of false and

fraudulent tax returns. Specifically, Aharonian admitted to cashing 34 third-party checks on Sept. 5, 2012, totaling $184,330.

Lowery said all of the checks were funded by fraudulently obtained income tax refunds that were direct deposited into bank accounts.

She said the 34 third-party checks cashed by

Aharonian were signed, but otherwise blank when brought to

the check cashing business. The check cashing business was owned by an unidentified husband and wife team who have also been charged with money laundering. The amounts the checks would be made payable for were provided to the check casher by Aharonian, in the form of post-it notes.  

Aharonian admitted to laundering funds in the amount of $860,695.76 between August 2010 and October 2012, a

period of a little over two years, Lowery said. According to documents filed with the court, “the amount is particularly large in light of the fact that defendant was incarcerated for over a year of that time frame.”

In 2011, Aharonian was convicted of a conspiracy to commit racketeering and was sentenced to 15 months federal custody, Lowery said.

Aharonian was incarcerated on that charge from October 2010 to November 2011.

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