California couple on run after stealing $20M in COVID relief cash
Cops are hunting a California couple convicted of stealing a staggering $20 million in COVID relief cash.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 37, were convicted Monday for conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering. He was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison while his wife was sentenced to six years.
But before they go to jail, the pair will have to be caught. Both were sentenced in absentia. They were convicted on June 25.
The feds say the criminal couple cut off their tracking bracelets on Aug. 29 and went on the run.
At the sentencing portion of their trial, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson slammed the gruesome twosome and said he couldn’t remember a fraud case where the scammers conducted themselves in such a “callous, intentional way without any regard for the law.”
The judge described Ayvazyan as “an endemic, cold-hearted fraudster with no regard for the law” and someone who “views fraud as an achievement.”
His 41-year-old brother Artur was sentenced to five years in prison. The brothers were also convicted of aggravated identity theft.
The couple has ties to southern California and Armenia.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Richard Ayvazyan and Terabelian.