By Andy Nguyen
LOS ANGELES (LA Times) — Two Glendale attorneys could face disciplinary action after the State Bar of California alleged they embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a multimillion-dollar settlement relating to the Armenian Genocide.
The state bar filed several disciplinary charges last year against Vartkes Yeghiayan and Rita Mahdessian, including misappropriation of funds and moral turpitude. They claimed the couple, who are married, had siphoned more than $300,000 of settlement money stemming from a class-action lawsuit over survivor benefits from the Armenian Genocide.
The two have denied the charges.
According to bar documents, the couple misrepresented two nonprofit groups they created to appropriate the funds.
In 2005, a class-action lawsuit was brought against French insurance company AXA S.A. over survivor benefits from descendants of Armenian genocide victims. Yeghiayan and Mahdessian were co-counsels on the case.