‘Pure Armenian Blood’ Member Pleads Guilty To Racketeering And Fraud Offenses

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NEW YORK (justice.gov) – Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Davit Yeghoyan pled guilty on November 2 to his role in a coast-to-coast racketeering enterprise referred to as “Pure Armenian Blood” or “P.A.B.,” in connection with the charges filed in United States v. Narek Marutyan, et al., 20 Cr. 652 (VM). Yeghoyan pled guilty before US Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave, and will be sentenced by US District Judge Victor Marrero on a date to be determined.

US Attorney Damian Williams said: “As a member of a sophisticated coast-to-coast organized criminal enterprise, Davit Yeghoyan enriched himself by stealing others’ identities, falsifying documents, and spending other people’s money, as he admitted in court today.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment, and statements during court proceedings, Pure Armenian Blood was an organized criminal group operating under the direction and protection of an unindicted co-conspirator (“CC-1”), a “vor v zakone” or “vor,” which are Russian phrases translated roughly as “Thief-in-Law” or “Thief,” and which refer to an order of elite criminals from the former Soviet Union who receive tribute from other criminals, offer protection, and use their recognized status as vor to adjudicate disputes among lower-level criminals. Members and associates of Pure Armenian Blood operated under the direction and protection of CC-1, a vor of Armenian descent previously based in Los Angeles before being deported in or about 2018. Pure Armenian Blood operated through groups of individuals, often with overlapping members or associates, dedicated to particular criminal tasks, particularly identity theft, access device fraud, and credit card fraud, among others. While Pure Armenian Blood exploited victims and the financial system in New York City, it had operations in various locations throughout the United States and abroad, including through the use of purportedly legitimate business entities operating under the control and in conjunction with members of P.A.B. at various points throughout the conspiracy.

As a member of P.A.B., Yeghoyan participated in and facilitated P.A.B’s various illicit activities, including the use of counterfeit credit cards and stolen personal identifying information, selling goods purchased with counterfeit credit cards for profit, fraudulently opening and exhausting lines of credit, and then falsifying documents to “clean” the credit of account holders in whose names the lines of credit were opened, and making purchases at collusive businesses with counterfeit credit cards or credit cards that were fraudulently opened.

Yeghoyan 29, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  The statutory maximum penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of FBI New York’s Eurasian Organized Crime Squad, as well as the FBI’s Newark, Los Angeles, and Miami offices, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York City Police Department, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and United States Customs and Border Protection for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.  This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) operation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

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The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transitional Criminal Enterprise Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benet J. Kearney, Abigail S. Kurland, and Emily Deininger are in charge of the case.

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