Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 7
Hakop Zakaryan, a former manager of a branch of the US’ Wells Fargo bank in Glendale (California, US), pleaded guilty to using his position to aid a $14-million money laundering scam involving tax refunds, Trend reports referring to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the report, 34-year-old Hakop Zakaryan pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and faces up to 30 years in prison for his participation in the scheme.
According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office, Zakaryan would be paid thousands of dollars in cash to unfreeze fraudulent bank accounts that were created using fake identities. He would unfreeze them by providing the bank’s loss prevention department with false information, the information reads.
In one instance that took place in July 2014, Zakaryan was paid about $3,000 to unfreeze an account that held $29,453, which allowed the scammers to withdraw those funds, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
The scam spanned several years and involved hundreds of bogus bank accounts opened using stolen identities and fabricated passports for the Republic of Armenia, the information reads.
About 7,000 of the fraudulent tax returns seeking roughly $38 million in refunds were submitted to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The agency ended up issuing $14 million in refunds.
US authorities said it’s the same scam that involved a Glendale attorney, Arthur Charchian.