LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Two Glendale residents are charged with bank fraud in an alleged scheme involving the proceeds of a mass mailing scam targeting holders of U.S. trademarks.
Artashes Darbinyan, 36, and Orbel Hakobyan, 41, were charged on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in an updated indictment unsealed in Los Angeles alleging they perpetrated bank fraud by passing proceeds from a mass mailing scam through fake bank accounts at a Wells Fargo branch in Glendale and elsewhere.
A message left with Hakobyan’s attorney was not immediately answered, and counsel for Darbinyan could not be located.
According to the indictment, Darbinyan operated and controlled Trademark Compliance Center and Trademark Compliance Office, which purported to offer trademark registration and monitoring services.
Prosecutors contend that through the companies, Darbinyan sent mass solicitations offering fee-based trademark registration and monitoring services to holders of trademarks recently registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — services which the defendant did not provide.
Using false identities, Darbinyan opened bank accounts, and both defendants deposited the trademark holders’ payments into the accounts, the government alleges.
With the assistance of bank employees, they then transferred the funds to other accounts under Darbinyan’s control — and either made cash withdrawals or purchased gold with cashier’s checks and wire transfers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“These defendants are charged with taking money from victims for services they never intended to render,” said Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.
“Although they used technology in an attempt to further and to conceal their crimes, they will now face prosecution.”
Both defendants face one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Darbinyan is also charged with four counts of mail fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of concealment money laundering and one count of bank fraud for a separate alleged scheme. Hakobyan was additionally charged with one count of bank fraud.