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Los Angeles real estate broker gets over 10 years for COVID loan fraud

A Los Angeles real estate broker will spend more than a decade in prison for her involvement in a family fraud ring that stole more than $18 million in emergency COVID-19 pandemic loans.

Tamara Dadyan, 42, and seven others convicted in the scam used the ill-gotten funds to buy gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, designer handbags and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, according to the Department of Justice.

Prosecutors said the LA-based ring submitted 151 fraudulent applications for loans intended to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic, but instead used the funds to put down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert.

Dadyan was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in June to her role in the massive scheme led by her brother-in-law, Richard Ayvazyan, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ayvazyan, 42, and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 37, purchased a $3.25 million home in Tarzana with the loan proceeds, federal prosecutors said. The pair was found guilty in June after an eight-day trial, but fled prior to sentencing.

The scheme was reportedly led by Richard Ayvazyan, above.

A judge on Monday criticized Dadyan’s “total disregard for the law” while noting the “brazenness” of her crimes in assisting her brother-in-law, the Times reported.

Text messages between the pair indicated they rushed to submit fraudulent loan applications, including using the names of dead people, before the bailout fund ran out of money, according to the newspaper.

“The conversations with Richard Ayvazyan show that she was his junior partner or maybe more,” US District Court Judge Stephen Wilson said.

Dadyan’s husband and Ayvazyan’s brother, Artur Ayvazyan, 41, was also sentenced to five years in prison last month for engaging in the scheme. The couple will leave behind two teenage daughters when they report to prison next month, the Times reported.

A judge declined a request by Dadyan’s attorney to stagger the sentences so she or her husband could keep raising their daughters. The woman’s lawyer said she came to the US as a child from Armenia before building a successful career as a real estate broker in Los Angeles’ Encino section.

Ayvazyan and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, above, purchased a $3.25 million home in Tarzana with the fraudulent loan proceeds.
Ayvazyan and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, above, purchased a $3.25 million home in Tarzana with the fraudulent loan proceeds.

“This lady has been a stalwart of the family,” attorney Jerry Kaplan said. “Her brother-in-law happened to be crook.”

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of more than 21 years for Dadyan, labeling her conduct as “shockingly callous,” the Times reported.

“The millions she stole were intended for small businesses and working families who desperately needed the money to survive as the pandemic paralyzed the economy,” prosecutors wrote in a court memo.

Kaplan said Dadyan intends to appeal her sentence. A prosecutor asked that she be taken immediately into custody, but a judge allowed her to remain free until Jan. 5.

Dadyan and her husband are also awaiting trial on unrelated state mortgage fraud charges, the Times reported.

Ayvazyan received a 17-year sentence last month in absentia, while Terabelian was sentenced to six years behind bars. The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to their arrest.

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