Proud to Be Armenian: 99 gang members indicted in bust of crime syndicate

For the second time in four months, Armenian mafia are in the news in the US, this time involving 99 members of a gang that calls itself “Armenian Power”, who are charged with identity theft, fraud and other felonies of at least $20 million.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times and other major media, federal indictments have been issued that could result in jail time ranging from a few months, to life.

A 212-page indictment was unsealed Wednesday in LA County District Court and includes charges of racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking and identity theft.

The gang is alleged to have conspired with African American gangs in a scheme that often preyed on the elderly who shopped at a chain of popular discount stores from which their credit card information was stolen leading to bank account information. It is also charged that the gang used violence in perpetrating their theft.

"The common denominator among these defendants and their criminal enterprises is their willingness to commit any crime for profit and to use any means of violence and intimidation to further their goals," Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said, as reported by the Times.

Birotte said the violence included the kidnapping of a Glendale businessman who was held for $500,000 ransom and threatened with death.

The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation called Operation Power Outage, and involved nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers. It also alleges that Armenian
Power has connections with crime rings in Armenia, Georgia, and Russia.

In October last year, 73 Diaspora, mostly also relocated to Southern California, were arrested in what was called the biggest Medicare insurance scheme in US history.