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ID Thieves & Tax Frauds Rounded Up, Feds Say

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Six people were arrested Wednesday and accused of using stolen IDs to file 3,000 tax returns seeking $19 million in fraudulent refunds - and getting nearly $10 million of it, federal prosecutors said.

The six people arrested are among eight defendants in a 132-count federal indictment, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The scam began in 2010 with the theft of Social Security numbers and other identification, and the defendants set up mail drops to receive the refunds, according to the U.S. attorney.

Arrested Wednesday were Ashot Karapetian, 47; Suren "Sonny" Gambaryan, 33, both of North Hollywood; Artak "Max" Berberyan, 33; Armen "Roman" Berberyan, 33, both of Van Nuys; Vigen "Vic" Tsaturyan, 47, of Sun Valley; and Arman Zargaryan, 30, of Granada Hills.

Fugitive are Akop "Jack" Kantrdzyan, 33, of Sylmar; and David Samsonyan aka "Little Guy," 31, of Winnetka, Calif.

The ring stole 1,844 stolen identities, many from retirees and from homeless shelters, and filed at least 2,977 false tax returns, prosecutors said.

They sought $19,324, 632 in refunds and got checks from the IRS for $,952,077, according to the U.S. attorney.

If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces 45 or more years in prison.

The indictment includes charges of conspiracy, theft of government money, mail fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and cashing government checks with forged signatures.

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