Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Nationwide Card Skimming Scheme

The defendants used the stolen financial information to make phony credit and debit cards


One of seven men charged with taking part in a card skimming scheme that took financial information from people using ATMs and gas pumps in San Diego and elsewhere pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal conspiracy charges.

Arsen Minasyan, 34, formerly of Glendale, admitted in San Diego federal court to his role in schemes that prosecutors say netted the defendants more than $1 million.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the defendants used the stolen financial information to make phony credit and debit cards, then used the fake cards to buy money orders and make withdrawals from victims' accounts.

In his plea agreement, Minasyan admitted to participating in the scheme in New York, Oklahoma, and Glendale -- in addition to other Southern California locales.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the scheme victimized people and their accounts in New York, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and at over a dozen post offices in Southern California, including the San Diego area.

Minasyan, who pleaded to charges of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to possess 15 or more unauthorized access devices, is slated to be sentenced Feb. 24.

The other defendants are due in court Jan. 13.

They are:

  • Davit Simonyan, 30, of Glendale;
  • Vahram Simonyan, 34, of Glendale;
  • Gor Plavchyan, 26, of Winnetka;
  • Arsen Galstyan, 40, of Glendale;
  • Mukuch Mkrtchyan, 32, of Fair Oaks;
  • and Smbat Shahinyan, 41, of Glendale.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this offense was advised to contact the Justice Department and visit the DOJ's large case website for more information.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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