NEW YORK (US Attorney’s Office, Southern District Office)- Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) in New York, announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging eight defendants with a variety of racketeering and fraud offenses. Of the eight defendants, Narek Marutyan, Albert Marutyan, Mikayel Yeghoyan, Davit Yeghoyan, and Vahe Hovhannisyan are associated with a coast-to-coast racketeering enterprise referred to as “Pure Armenian Blood” or “P.A.B.” and are charged in United States v. Narek Marutyan, et al. (the “Indictment”), which has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero. Of those defendants, Mikayel Yeghoyan and Davit Yeghoyan were taken into federal custody and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn on December 9. Two defendants, Albert Muratyan and Vahe Hovhannisyan, were presented in the Central District of California.
Three additional defendants, Lusine Ghazaryan, Saro Mouradian, a/k/a “Paul Mouradian,” and Zaven Yerkaryan, are charged in the Indictment with fraud-related offenses. Of those defendants, Ghazaryan was taken into federal custody on December 9 and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn; Yerkaryan was presented in the Central District of California before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick; Mouradian will be presented in the Southern District of Florida before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Pure Armenian Blood members enriched themselves and their criminal associates through a raft of fraudulent schemes that included years’ long efforts to steal others’ identities, falsify documents, and spend other people’s money as though there were no consequences. Thanks to the remarkable efforts of our agency partners, spearheaded by the FBI, members of this nationwide network of crime will now face serious consequences in the form of federal charges.”
FBI Assistant William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The members of this enterprise acted as if they were in another time, much like fiefdoms operated in the Dark Ages in which tributes were paid to protect fellow criminals and settle disputes between members under the benevolence of the vor. However the actions we allege they’ve taken, like using electronic devices to steal people’s identities, using fake credit cards and setting up fake lines of credit at U.S. banks, are all modern day crimes. As a consequence, they now face modern justice.”
HSI Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said: “The only thing pure about this alleged crime syndicate is their thirst for stealing from our communities and endangering the security of our homeland from coast to coast. HSI New York is relentless in our pursuit of dismantling transnational criminal organizations, and we are grateful to have this opportunity working with our federal partners to ensure those involved will now face justice.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed on December 9 in Manhattan federal court: