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United States of America v. Robert Fichidzhyan
Case Number: 3:21-cr-02660
Judge: Cynthia Bashant
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: San Diego, California criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with stealing financial information of unwitting victims at gas pumps throughout Southern California.
Robert Fichidzhyan, age 40, admitted in his plea agreement that he built “skimmers”—customized electronic devices that his accomplices secretly installed at dozens of gas stations to steal credit and debit card information from unknowing patrons. Fichidzhyan admitted that the conspiracy he participated in stole at least $619,923.45 during the period that he was involved.
“Identity thieves should not assume they are safe committing electronic larceny,” said U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “Anyone who victimizes the public in our jurisdiction will be brought to justice.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team, IRS-CI and Secret Service agents for their excellent work on this case.
As set out in court documents, Fichidzhyan’s accomplices broke into gas pumps throughout Southern California and installed customized skimming devices to steal victims’ credit and debit card information during otherwise legitimate transactions. Next, they made unauthorized cards encoded with victims’ information for their own use, stole victims’ funds, or otherwise sold victim financial information outright to others who would exploit it for their own gain.
Fichidzhyan admitted in his plea agreement that he personally received $249,890.00 from the scheme. He was ordered to forfeit that amount, and to participate in paying restitution of $619,923.45 to the victims of his crime together with his codefendants.
Another defendant in a related case previously received prison time for similar conduct. On June 23, 2022, Margar Simonyan was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in custody in related case number 21-cr-2659-BAS, together with $11,810 of forfeiture and restitution. The next hearing in the case against the remaining defendants is set for March 20, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant.
This investigation involved significant contributions from many different sources, including state, local, and federal law enforcement partners, and assistance from and partnerships with the financial and private sectors, such as the National Cyber-Forensics Training Alliance (NCTFA). Anyone who believes that they may be a victim of this offense can visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s large case website for more information: www.justice.gov/largecases.
“The U.S. Secret Service works vigorously to combat financial fraud perpetrated against the Southern California community, particularly crimes related to skimming,” said SAIC Jason Reynolds of the San Diego Field Office. “The Secret Service, along with our local, state, and federal partners, will continue to be proactive in suppressing this criminal activity, and remains ready to investigate financial crimes wherever they occur.”
DEFENDANTS Case Number 21-CR-2660-BAS
Haykaz Mansuryan 33 Residence: Granada Hills, California
Hayk Shakaryan 34 Residence: Glendale, California
Davit Babayan 36 Residence: Granada Hills, California
Artour Hakobyan 39 Residence: Glendale, California
Petros Armutyan 36 Fugitive
Hakop Karayan 44 Residence: Glendale, California
Robert Fichidzhyan 40 Residence: North Hollywood, California
Vasiliy Polyak 32 Residence: Glendale, California
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Use Unauthorized Access Devices and Possess Device-Making Equipment, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(b)(2), 1029(a)(2), and 1029(a)(4)
Maximum Penalty: five to ten years in prison, depending upon prior convictions; fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss
Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A (Defendants 1, 2, and 4 through 6 only)
Maximum Penalty: mandatory minimum two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence
U.S. Secret Service
Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation
Outcome: 01/06/2023 206 Order for Restitution as to Robert Fichidzhyan. Signed by Judge Cynthia Bashant on 1/5/23. (jmo) (Entered: 01/06/2023)
01/06/2023 207 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Cynthia Bashant: Sentence With PSR Hearing held on 1/6/2023 for Robert Fichidzhyan (7). Count 1, Dft committed to the BOP for a term of 41 months, supervised release for 3 years, no fine, assessment $100, forfeiture as ordered on 8/4/2022 confirmed, restitution $619,923.45, appeal rights waived. Defendant shall self-surrender to either the US Marshal or the designated institution by 4/26/2023 by 12:00 PM (Noon). Bond Exoneration Hearing set for 5/1/2023 09:00 AM in Courtroom 12B before Judge Cynthia Bashant. Surety(s) to file an acknowledgement within a week. PSR to be amended regarding citizenship. (Court Reporter/ECR Anne Roldan). (Plaintiff Attorney Nicholas Pilchak AUSA and Sabrina Feve AUSA). (Defendant Attorney Marcus Bourassa RET). (no document attached) (sxm) (Entered: 01/06/2023)