IRS – Glendale Man Arrested on Federal Tax And Bank Fraud Charges

Los Angeles – LawFuel – Yesterday morning, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation agents arrested a Glendale man on charges contained in two indictments returned yesterday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.

The first indictment charges that, in 2004, Antoine David Haroutunian, 46, claimed a tax refund of $183,345 for 2003 that he knew he was not entitled to. As detailed by prosecutors at his initial appearance arguing for detention and as specified in the indictment, Haroutunian claimed that he had over $707,000 in gambling winnings from Santa Anita and Hollywood Park race tracks on his 2003 tax return from which over $185,000 was supposedly withheld to pay the taxes owed on the winnings. Further, prosecutors allege that Haroutunian claimed over $705,000 in gambling losses, resulting in his false claim that he was entitled to an income tax refund of $183,345.

The tax indictment alleges that Haroutunian attached to his 2003 tax return five separate Forms W-2G, which are used to report gambling winnings and tax withheld, that he knew were false and fictitious, in order to support his claim to the large refund he fraudulently obtained.

In the second indictment returned yesterday, Haroutunian is charged with multiple counts of bank fraud, making a false statement to a financial institution, aggravated identity theft relating to the bank fraud counts and the false statement charge. Employed by Bank of America as a Customer Service Representative from the end of 2001 through late 2003, Haroutunian would use his account access privileges to obtain account information from victim accounts at the bank which included the names of the account holders and authorized signers, account numbers, and taxpayer identification numbers. After Haroutunian’s employment with the bank was terminated, he and others would impersonate the account holders on a given account and, by various means, withdraw funds from the account for their own benefit. The resulting scheme caused an actual and intended loss of more than $400,000 to Bank of America.

An indictment is a charging document which contains allegations of violations committed by defendants. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty before the court.

The tax related charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the bank fraud and false statement counts carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison and a potential fine of up to $1 million. Additionally, a conviction for aggravated identity theft will result in a mandatory sentence of an additional two years to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the bank fraud and false statement counts.

At his initial appearance today, United States Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg ordered Haroutunian held without bail prior to trial based on her finding that Haroutunian – who is currently being investigated for an investor fraud scheme that allegedly bilked investors out of over $10 million – posed an on-going danger to the community. Haroutunian will be arraigned on Monday, September 8, 2008, at which time the date for his trial will be set.

The investigation of Haroutunian was conducted by IRS- Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles.

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