Eight Gangsters Plead Guilty

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Eight members and hangers-on of an Armenian gang pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, including stealing $2 million by putting skimming devices into cash registers at 99 Cents Only Stores, federal prosecutors said.
     The eight people who pleaded guilty this week were among 70 charged two years ago in a 140-count indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     The indictment accused the “Armenian Power” gang of identity theft, bank fraud, credit card skimming, counterfeit checks, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping and firearms offenses, the U.S. attorney said in the statement.
     Hundreds of people were victimized by the skimming racket at the 99 Cents Only Stores across Southern California.
     Pleading guilty Monday, and the charges, were:
     Karo Yerkanyan, 32, of Tujunga, (racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, and felon in possession of a firearm);
     Arman Tangabekyan, 34, of Encino, (racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft);
     Artur Pembejian, 36, of Burbank, (racketeering conspiracy);
     Raymond Tarverdyan, 35, of Montrose, (racketeering conspiracy and bank fraud);
     Simon Antonyan, 38, of Hollywood, (aggravated identity theft);
     Khachatur Arakelyan, 39, of Glendale, (aggravated identity theft);
     Vartenie Ananian, 29, of Tujunga, (bank fraud); and
     Adam Davoodian, 32, of Glendale, (conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana).
     Fifty-one other defendants have pleaded guilty.

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