Couple accused of stealing Covid relief funds



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Richard Ayvazyan and Marietta Terabelian (Photo credit: FBI Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES (WJW) – A man and his wife, convicted of a scheme to steal more than $ 20 million in COVID-19 relief funds, are wanted after fleeing before sentencing.

On June 25, a federal grand jury found Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and Marietta Terabelian, 37, guilty of several counts, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. money.

They reportedly cut their tracking bracelets on August 29 while awaiting sentencing.

WKRC reports that they left a note for their children, who are 13, 15 and 16 years old.

According to Ayvazyan’s lawyer, the note stated that the family “would be reunited again one day” and that “it is not a goodbye, but a brief break from each other”.

A reward of up to $ 20,000 is offered for any information leading to their arrest.

According to the US prosecutor’s office, Ayvazyan was sentenced in absentia to 17 years in prison. Terabelian was sentenced to six years. Ayvazyan’s brother Artur Ayvazyan, 41, was sentenced to serve five years in federal prison in the case.

Four other people had already been convicted under this regime.

They are accused of using dozens of fake, stolen or synthetic identities, including names belonging to elderly or deceased people and foreign students to submit fraudulent claims to relief funds.

Authorities say they used the money for down payments on luxury homes and to buy gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, luxury watches, fine imported furniture, designer handbags, clothing and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The couple were ordered to give up bank accounts, jewelry, watches, gold coins, three residential properties and about $ 450,000 in cash.

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