An Encino real estate broker has become the third convicted member of an $18 million COVID-19 benefit fraud scheme to go on the run in the case involving a married couple who fled after cutting their tracking bracelets last summer, authorities confirmed on Monday.
Tamara Dadyan, 42, was sentenced in December to nearly 11 years in prison for her role in the eight-member family fraud ring, but was allowed to remain free pending her January 28 surrender to the US Bureau of Prisons . She apparently fell out of sight just before she had to surrender.
Scheme ringleader Richard Ayvazyan, 43, and his wife and co-defendant Marietta Terabelian, 37, have been missing since August 29. The Encino couple were convicted at trial, but released pending sentencing.
“We are actively looking for their whereabouts,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Monday.
Law enforcement – who posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to the couple’s arrest – believe Ayvazyan and Terabelian are traveling together.
A call to Dadyan’s attorney seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Defendants submitted more than 150 bogus loan applications under which they obtained more than $18 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds and Economic Disaster Loans, which were used to make down payments on houses in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert, and to buy gold coins. , diamonds, jewelry, luxury watches, imported furniture, designer handbags, clothing and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Dadyan pleaded guilty to one federal count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated impersonation. She then asked the judge to be allowed to withdraw her plea, but the request was denied.
Federal authorities believe Ayvazyan and his wife, facing the possibility of spending years behind bars, removed their location tracking devices, left a note for their children and fled their Encino home together. The next day, a Los Angeles judge signed warrants for their arrest.
Ayvazyan was sentenced in absentia to 17 years in federal prison and his wife received a six-year sentence, according to the US attorney’s office.
The couple were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to launder money. Ayvazyan was also found guilty of aggravated impersonation.
Prior to the Ayvazyan trial verdict, four relatives pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the case.