Former Glendale bank manager pleads not guilty in money laundering case
The former manager of a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Glendale has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he was part of a scheme to launder the proceeds of a “mass mailing scam” targeting holders of U.S. trademarks, authorities said Thursday.
Albert Yagubyan, 36, of Burbank, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the charges in federal court in Los Angeles, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said.
The charges were filed last month.
The indictment charges Yagubyan with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, four counts of concealment money laundering, one count of false bank entries and one count of witness tampering, the government said.
His trial is scheduled for Sept. 13.
Artashes Darbinyan, 36, and Orbel Hakobyan, 41, both of Glendale, were previously charged in this case, the government said. Their status was not immediately available.
The government said that Yagubyan was the manager of the bank branch until October 2015. The indictment alleges that from 2013 to 2015, Yagubyan allowed Darbinyan and Hakobyan to open bogus bank accounts at the branch through which proceeds of the trademark scam could be laundered in exchange for a share of the proceeds.
It claims that Darbinyan and Hakobyan deposited checks from the victims of the mass-mailing scam into bogus accounts at the bank. Then Yagubyan allegedly instructed employees to approve withdrawals by Darbinyan and Hakobyan, even though the two men were not the signatories on the accounts, according to the indictment.
“The new defendant added in this case allegedly used his position of trust at a large financial institution to further a scheme that bilked trademark holders,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “In addition, the co-schemers used stolen identities to further mask this scheme. Activities such as this scheme threaten the stability of financial transactions upon which businesses depend.”