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Gang Leader Convicted of 57 Counts

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A gang leader was convicted Thursday of 57 criminal counts, including racketeering and skimming credit card and PIN numbers from thousands of shoppers at 99 Cents Only Stores.

Mher Darbinyan was convicted of 57 criminal counts, including racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, extortion, bank fraud, access device fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Darbinyan, 38, of Valencia, who calls himself Capone, was a leader of an Armenian Power gang. According to the U.S. attorney, he "participated in extortions, firearms offenses, frauds, and identity theft, and repeatedly engaged in criminal activities with members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang."

Also convicted Thursday, on three counts, was Arman Sharopetrosian.

A third defendant, Rafael Parsadanyan, was convicted of involvement in the credit-card skimming scheme.

Darbinyan is to be sentenced on July 21; Sharopetrosian on Sept. 15; Parsadanyan on July 14.

They are among the 90 Armenian Power defendants charged in two indictments in 2011. Eighty-five have been convicted, two are awaiting trial, two are fugitives, and charges against one have been dismissed.

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