LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A San Fernando Valley man who bought a million-dollar home with a swimming pool by running a fraud scheme that stole more than $800,000 in COVID-19 jobless benefits was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison.
Robert Mirumyan, 31, of Porter Ranch, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered him to pay $804,579 in restitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Anderson described Mirumyan’s offense as “galling” and “callous,” noting that the defendant took advantage of benefits meant to help the unemployed even while he had the talent and opportunities to earn money legitimately, the DOJ said.
Mirumyan pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, admitting that he oversaw a scheme that used stolen identities to apply for COVID-era unemployment insurance benefits from the California Employment Development Department.
The case against Mirumyan began when the FBI served warrants in March 2021 against the Beverly Hills-based U.S. Private Vaults, where investigators discovered a safety deposit box in the name of Mirumyan’s wife that contained $400,000 in cash.
U.S. Private Vaults, a private safety deposit box company that advertised it was not subject to bank customer identity rules, pleaded guilty in 2022 to conspiring to launder money.
During 2020 and continuing through August of 2021, Mirumyan and others used other people’s identities to apply for unemployment insurance benefits through the EDD, according to court documents. Once EDD approved the bogus applications, banks issued debit cards that Mirumyan and others used to withdraw cash.
“When confronted with the COVID pandemic that has claimed the lives of almost 7 million persons worldwide to date, [Mirumyan] instead saw an opportunity to bilk taxpayers out of the emergency funds their government generously made available to ameliorate job losses,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed in Los Angeles federal court. “Such criminal opportunism during a global health and economic emergency is egregious.”