They stole US $ 20 million from the US government, left a note for their children and disappeared | FBI | Richard Ayvazyan | Marietta Terabelian | EC Stories | WORLD

Richard Ayvazyan and Marietta Terabelian are two of the FBI’s most wanted people. The 42 and 37-year-old couple ripped off the government , raised an amount close to 20 million dollars and, in the face of a harsh sentence, they vanished, leaving their children behind.

It all started with the pandemic of Covid-19. When the crisis began to put people out of work and small businesses out of business, after much debate, the United States decided to provide attendance vouchers for those most in need. What for many was a respite, for the Ayvazyans it was a great business opportunity. Using false identities that included deceased people, the elderly or exchange students who had returned to their country of origin, the couple accumulated state aid for people in emergency situations.

This initial plan was joined by dozens of businesses that they created with counterfeit payroll and tax returns. According to the newspaper Los Angeles Times, Richard summoned others to participate in the scam and, in this way, they accumulated close to 150 loan applications.

Richard Ayvazyan, accused of fraud. (Los Angeles Times).

With money in hand, the family’s life took a 180 ° turn: they invested the millions raised in jewelry, high-end watches, gold coins, properties in the most exclusive neighborhoods in California, designer objects and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. His attitude of “nouveau riche” triggered an alert and it was a matter of time until the authorities began to investigate his situation.

Marietta Terabelian leaving a court in Los Angeles.  (Los Angeles Times).
Marietta Terabelian leaving a court in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times).

The investigations led to a break-in at his mansion for $ 3.25 million. Just a couple of months later – more precisely, in June of this year – the couple was found guilty before the courts. But when the judge handed down the sentence, they were only there to listen to her his three children aged 13, 15 and 16 since, one night in August, his parents disappeared. “Someday we will get back together,” they wrote in a letter that they left on the bed before escaping.

Images of the raid on the mansion.  (Los Angeles Times).
Images of the raid on the mansion. (Los Angeles Times).

Although the most accepted theory is that the Ayvazyan fled, a second possibility raised by Richard’s lawyer was discussed, Ashwin J. Ram, who stated that were kidnapped by one of their collaborators and that the farewell to their children was planted. The lawyer insisted with his version, but it was dismissed by the judge in charge of the case who, after receiving the notice that the couple had processed an emergency application for passports for the three children, assured that their escape plan was evident.

Police forces raided the couple's mansion.  (Los Angeles Times).
Police forces raided the couple’s mansion. (Los Angeles Times).

For the moment, the FBI continues its search and offered a reward of $ 10,000 for any information about the whereabouts of the scammers.


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