LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) Family members of an Encino couple who went on a race this summer after being convicted of a $ 18 million COVID-19 emergency aid fraud scheme believe the couple has been kidnapped.
According to court records obtained Friday, family members believe that 43-year-old Richard Ayvazyan and 37-year-old Marietta Terabelian were kidnapped in an attempt to prevent them from revealing the identities of non-accused accomplices.
Ayvazyan and Terabelian were convicted by a federal jury back in June on charges of, among other things, bank fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Two other family members were convicted in the scheme.
But while awaiting sentencing, federal authorities reported that on August 29, the couple cut off their ankle monitoring bracelets and fled.
Defense attorneys wrote in recent archives obtained by the City News Service that family members of the couple believe that Ayvazyan and Terabelian were abducted and did not voluntarily run away from their home in Encino.
Based on such concerns, lawyers for the missing couple are asking the government to allow inspection of an alleged video that could show Ayvazyan and Terabelian voluntarily returning home on September 2nd.
If the couple is not seen on the alleged video, “then there is no reliable evidence of voluntary escape. It is not credible to claim that Ayvazyan and Terabelian would have voluntarily fled without leaving traces such as the use of credit lines, electronic accounts or vehicles, Wrote Ayvazyan’s lawyer Ashwin J. Ram.
Law enforcers believe that Ayvazyan and Terabelian are traveling together.
The four family members were found guilty of fraudulently obtaining more than $ 18 million in payslips to protect payslips and disaster loans for financial damages. They used the money to put payouts on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert and buy jewelry and other exclusive items.
The couple’s sentencing is scheduled for November 15.
The FBI asks anyone with information about the couple to call 310-477-6565. A $ 20,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)