Suspects Charged in $400,000 Electronic Crime Scheme

Four San Fernando Valley men were charged today in an alleged electronic crime scheme in which more than two dozen victims -- including two banks -- lost more than $400,000 via phony ATM withdrawals.

Oganes Tangabakyan, 31, and Edgar Yerkanyan, 25, both of Sherman Oaks, Aznaour Poghosyan, 26, of Tujunga; and Vahe Hovsepyan, 33, of Reseda, are scheduled to be arraigned May 28 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse on the 57-count complaint.

All four men are charged with identity theft, while Tangabakyan, Yerkanyan and Poghosyan are also charged with grand theft.

Tangabakyan, Yerkanyan and Hovsepyan are additionally charged with unlawful access card activity, cultivating marijuana, possession of a machine gun, possession of an assault weapon and possession of a silencer.

The drug and weapon charges stem from a search warrant served Tuesday at six San Fernando Valley locations.

Investigators found an indoor, hydroponic marijuana farm, a machine gun, several assault rifles and silencers when they searched a so-called "safe house" in Sunland, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The investigators also seized several late-model, high-end automobiles and more than $200,000 in cash -- most of it in $20 bills, officials said.

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The District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation began investigating the case last August after being informed by Citibank of possible ATM fraud, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The defendants allegedly gained access to ATM personal identification numbers through skimming devices placed on debit card point of service terminals and ATMs in Southern California and at least one other state.

Bail was set at $1 million each for the four men, who were arrested Tuesday.
 

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