Armen Hovanesian, a 32-year-old man from Glendale, plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and defrauding a government-sponsored loan program. This program was created to help businesses and individuals survive the economic impact that COVID-19 caused. Additionally, Hovanesian admitted that he used part of the loan to fund an illicit marijuana grow. He is facing a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Hovanesian was a cost-control and budget-planning resource analyst for the NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the time of the alleged crime. According to the plea agreement, Hovanesian was submitting loan applications for businesses he controlled to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). EIDL is managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and is meant to provide low-interest financing to homeowners, renters, and small businesses that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To receive the loans, Hovanesian supposedly made false and fraudulent statements on the loan applications, including the businesses' gross revenues and his intended use for the loan funds. He told the SBA he would use all the funds as working capital to alleviate economic injury caused by the pandemic. Instead, he used the funds to repay a personal real-estate debt and fund an illegal marijuana grow. All in all, Hovanesian received over $151,000 of EIDL funds, which were transferred via interstate wire.
Hiring an Experienced Defense Attorney
When you are accused of wire fraud, there is always a defense to try. In the case of wire fraud, the best way to nullify the prosecution's argument is to show that there was no intent to defraud. For instance, if you honestly believed that the statements you were making or representing on your application were true, you cannot be charged with wire fraud.
By working with an experienced defense attorney, you can be sure that every possible defense will be reviewed. Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group will then choose the one that best fits the materials in this case, guaranteeing you the best possible outcome. Call 818-325-0571 today or schedule a free consultation online. We're here to help.