Financial Fraud: Mushegh Melkonyan Sentenced For Participated In a Multistep Conspiracy Involving At Least Six Other Individuals

Sixth Defendant Sentenced in Credit Card and ID Theft Fraud Conspiracy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Las Vegas man was sentenced today to four and a half years in prison for his involvement in a scheme that resulted in 19,000 stolen credit and debit cards that were used to obtain over $490,000 in unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals and money order purchases.

According to court documents, Mushegh Melkonyan, 28, participated in a multistep conspiracy involving at least six other individuals. Specifically, conspirators attached electronic devices known as “skimmers” to gas pump payment systems, collected the information captured when payment cards were swiped at the compromised gas pumps by unwitting customers, and encoded the stolen card numbers onto physical payment cards. Thereafter, conspirators used the physical cards encoded with stolen card information throughout Northern Virginia and elsewhere, making fraudulent ATM withdrawals and U.S. Postal Service money order purchases. Court documents show that Melkonyan furthered the conspiracy by traveling to the Eastern District of Virginia in August 2017, reserving a Falls Church hotel room that was used to store the proceeds and tools of the conspiracy, and using physical cards encoded with stolen payment card numbers to withdraw funds on August 8 from area ATMs.

As reflected in court documents, in addition to Melkonyan, the five individuals listed in the table below have been charged with participating in the same conspiracy, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and/or aggravated identity theft, and have been sentenced.


Name, Age




Mushegh Melkonyan, 28

Las Vegas, Nev.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud; Aggravated Identity Theft

4.5 years

Rudolf Mekhakian, 31

Van Nuys, Calif.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud; Aggravated Identity Theft

7.5 years

Radik Karapetyan, 25

North Hollywood, Calif.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud; Aggravated Identity Theft

6.5 years

Siranush Yengibaryan, 24

Van Nuys, Calif.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud; Aggravated Identity Theft

5.5 years

Armen Saplekchian, 37

Tarzana, Calif.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud; Aggravated Identity Theft

5 years

Anatoly Zinchenko, 47

Philadelphia, Pa.

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud

3 years

Court documents indicate that some of the above-listed defendants may face immigration consequences as a result of their convictions. For instance, Karapetyan and Yengibaryan are citizens of Armenia and green card holders, and Saplekchian is an illegal alien.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Patrick J. Lechleitner, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Division, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander P. Berrang and Kellen S. Dwyer prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-149.

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