For release on June 16, 2015 CONTACT:
Jennifer Deng, Deputy District Attorney
High Tech Crimes Unit
(408) 792-2875 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAN GAS PUMP GANG CHARGED
Four Southern Californian men have been charged in Santa Clara County with going on a criminal luxury item shopping spree using counterfeit credit cards created by “skimming” customer information from gas pumps.
Investigators suspect that the fraudulent transactions total more than $500,000.
Sarkis Demirchian, 50, Garik Gevorgyan, 44, and Misak Koshkaryan 40, were arrested in Monterey County and Glendale and brought to Santa Clara County over the past few months and have been arraigned. All remain in custody. Karen Mamidjanyan, 51, arrested in Los Angeles County, is expected to be extradited to Santa Clara County in the next two months for an arraignment. They face numerous counts of Identity Theft, Burglary, Conspiracy and Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancements. If convicted, they could face more than 20 years in prison.
From August of last year to February, 2015, the four suspects would often go in well-dressed pairs to jewelry stores, beverage, office supply, and grocery stores from Palo Alto to Gilroy. There, they would buy items such as high-end watches, jewelry, liquor, and gift cards using victim credit card numbers that had been transposed onto counterfeit credit cards either bearing their names or aliases the suspects were using.
The victim merchants were not aware of the fraud until after the transactions when they would get a charge back from the issuing bank of the credit card. These same four suspects have been identified up and down California conducting the same schemes.
The loss from the fraudulent transactions are still rising as the investigation continues, spearheaded by REACT, a Bay Area high-technology crimes and identity theft task force directed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with further information or believe they have been victimized by these individuals should contact REACT Agent Tanya Neu at (408)282-2439 or [email protected].
Sarkis Demirchian Garik Gevorgyan
Misak Koshkaryan Karen Mamidjanyan # # #