November 15th 2021
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A couple who the FBI says is on the run after being convicted in an $18 million COVID-19 relief fraud scheme will be sentenced Monday in absentia.
Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and his wife and co-defendant, 37-year-old Marietta Terabelian, remain at large after the FBI says they removed their electronic tracking bracelets in August. They had been found guilty in June in an $18 million COVID-19 relief loan scheme, that had included Ayvazyan’s brother and several other relatives.
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward offered for information about their whereabouts that might lead to an arrest. However, the couple’s family says they believe they were kidnapped, according to court documents. A judge has rejected the theory, writing in an order that there was no evidence to suggest they were taken by force. The FBI believes the couple is traveling together.
The Ayvazyan brothers and their wives were found guilty of using fake, stolen, and manufactured identities to apply for federal COVID relief funds, then using the money to buy luxury homes in Southern California, jewelry, designer handbags, and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, among other items. Four other accomplices, who were also related to the couples, pleaded guilty earlier for their roles in the scheme.
The couples both face sentences of decades in federal prison. Prosecutors say they will ask for sentencing enhancements for the apparent escape from supervision.(Source : https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/11/15/fugitive-couple-convicted-18-million-covid-19-loan-fraud-scheme-sentenced-absentia/)