US Hands Armenian Gang Member 8-Year Prison Term

US Hands Armenian Gang Member 8-Year Prison Term
# 16 December 2013 20:30 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. An alleged Armenian gang leader has been sentenced to eight years in prison in California after pleading guilty to involvement in a $2 million bank card scam, as well as drug and weapons charges, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

Karo Yerkanyan, described by US prosecutors as a leader of the “Armenian Power” gang in California, was sentenced to five years of supervised release last week in addition to the eight-year prison term on charges related to racketeering, bank fraud, identity theft, marijuana trafficking and illegal firearms possession, according to federal court documents.

Yerkanyan, who is also known by the nickname “Guilty,” pleaded guilty in a federal court to involvement in a scam that used illegally obtained information from victims’ bank cards to open fraudulent bank accounts, loans and credit lines at HSBC Bank and Bank of America, US prosecutors said in September.

The information was stolen using so-called “skimming” devices to steal customers’ bank information at cash registers, causing more than $2 million in damages, prosecutors said.

Yerkanyan, 32, was one of 70 individuals charged in a 140-count indictment in 2011 for activities tied to Armenian Power, a criminal organization believed to have more than 250 members who are “primarily individuals of Armenian descent” and who operate largely in Southern California, according to US prosecutors.

Armenian Power “maintains ties to Russia and Armenia,” and its members and associates have been involved in murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion, prosecutors alleged in the indictment.

Prosecutors say members of the gang typically identify themselves through gang tattoos, graffiti, street names and gang clothing, according to the indictment. Monikers of alleged Armenian Power members and associates named in the July 2011 indictment include “Thick Neck,” “Puffy” and “Hollywood Mike.”

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