SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - Two men who stole $8 million from the elderly in an ID theft ring they ran from prison were sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
Angus Brown, 36, and Arman Sharopetrosian, 33, were sentenced Wednesday.
Sharopetrosian and Brown bribed bank insiders to get access to bank accounts, and used personal information to forge signatures and deposit money into checking accounts, the U.S. attorney said in a statement announcing the sentences.
A federal grand jury indicted 20 people in June 2010, on charges including RICO fraud, kidnapping, conspiracy through threats and violence and aggravated identity theft.
The 100-page indictment targeted Armenian and African-American street gangs, who ran the fraud run out of Avenal state prison.
While leading the scheme, Brown was serving time for ID theft. Sharopetrosian was in prison for shooting at an occupied vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon.
U.S. District Judge David Carter called the scheme one of the most sophisticated he had ever seen.
Sharopetrosian was convicted of bank fraud conspiracy, bank fraud and aggravated identity fraud.
Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Most members of the ring are scheduled to face Judge Carter for sentencing in the coming months, according to the U.S. attorney.
A slew of police agencies investigated the ring, including the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, the FBI, the Secret Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank Police, and Orange County and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departments.
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