Bank Fraud Ring All But Rolled Up
SAN DIEGO (CN) - The 13th defendant pleaded guilty Tuesday to leading a conspiracy that stole more than $1 million from Citibank using cash advance kiosks in a dozen casinos in two states.
Ara Keshishyan, 31, of Fillmore, paid seed money to his conspirators, with which they opened Citibank accounts, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement announcing his guilty plea. The conspirators then went to casinos in Southern California and Nevada and followed Keshishyan's instructions on how to withdraw overdrafts quickly, to circumvent Citibank's security protocol.
In one case, Keshishyan and his co-conspirators were able to withdraw 10 times the amount of seed money they had deposited, prosecutors said. The withdrawals were generally more than $9,000 but less than $10,000, to avoid federal transaction reporting requirements.
Keshishyan admitted that he and his ring stole more than $1 million from Citibank between June 2009 and January 2010, and that he took a cut of every fraudulent withdrawal.
He faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine at his Sept. 12 sentencing.
Keshishyan is the 13th of 14 defendants to plead guilty in the case. The 14th man, Levon Karamyan, 60, is a fugitive.