By Randy Miramontez | Celebrity Examiner
SACRAMENTO, CA – A Sacramento man, along with a Los Angeles man were indicted Thursday on 23 counts of wire and mail fraud, in a scheme to defraud American Express account holders, this according to United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.
In a statement released by Wagner on Friday, 33-year-old Mihran Melkonyan of Sacramento and 39-year-old Androuslan Akhmerov of Los Angeles were both indicted Thursday.
Akhmerov was arrested on March 5 and has been released on bail. An initial appearance for him in Sacramento is set for March 27 at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman.
Melkonyan remains at large.
According to court documents, Melkonyan and Akhmerov were involved in a scheme to defraud more than 20,000 credit card holders by making false charges on their accounts. To do this, Melkonyan and Akhmerov created fictitious businesses with legitimate sounding names and then charged the victims’ accounts small amounts in the range of $15-30. By using many small charges the defendants made it less likely that the credit card holders or the credit card companies would discover the fraud.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Anderson is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Melkonyan and Akhmerov face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.