A San Fernando Valley man who led a conspiracy to steal more than $800,000 in COVID-19 unemployment benefits has been sentenced to 97 months in federal prison, the Justice Department announced today.
Robert Mirumyan, 31, of Porter Ranch, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered him to pay $804,579 in restitution.
Mirumyan pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, admitting he masterminded a scheme that used stolen identities to apply for insurance benefits unemployment (UI) during COVID from the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
Mirumyan came to the attention of law enforcement when the FBI executed search and seizure warrants in March 2021 against US Private Vaults based in Beverly Hills, where investigators discovered a safety deposit box held in the name of the wife of Confiscated with $400,000 in cash. US Private Vaults, a private safety deposit box company that advertised it was not subject to the bank’s “know your customer” rules, pleaded guilty in 2022 to conspiring to launder its customers .
During 2020 and continuing through August of 2021, Mirumyan and others used other people’s identities to apply for UI benefits through the EDD, according to court documents. When the EDD approved false and fraudulent UI applications, banks issued debit cards with funds intended for false identities, Mirumyan and others used fraudulently obtained debits card to withdraw money.
“When faced with the COVID pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 7 million people worldwide so far, (Mirumyan) instead saw an opportunity to get the taxpayers out of the emergency funds provided by their government to compensate for the loss of employment,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed in this case. “Such criminal opportunism at a time of a global health and economic emergency is egregious.”
Judge Anderson described Mirumyan’s crime as “galling” and “callous,” saying the defendant took advantage of benefits meant to help the unemployed even though he had talent and opportunities to make money legitimately.
“(I)t appears that (Mirumyan) made a decision to pursue wealth through fraud rather than participating in the legitimate economy,” prosecutors wrote in the sentencing memo. “Worse, his choice paid off, at least until his hidden $400,000 in cash was accidentally discovered by US Private Vaults based on an unrelated investigation into the business. (Mirumyan) was able to support himself and his family, bought a million dollar house with a swimming pool with his criminal proceeds.”
This matter is being investigated by the Postal Inspection Service and the California Employment Development Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown of the Major Frauds Section prosecuted this case.
Anyone with general information about allegations of trial fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or by NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.hustisya .gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.