A California man has finally been extradited back to Hawaii to face identity theft charges.
Prosecutors say 33-year-old Armen Apoyan was one of two men who took part in an elaborate ATM skimming operation in Waikiki.
Apoyan was arrested in Seattle on Tuesday, March 11. He and co-defendant Argishti Khachaturyan, 33, were indicted by an Oahu grand jury and charged with conspiracy and identity theft.
The indictment alleges that Apoyan and Khachaturyan flew from Los Angeles to Honolulu on February 21, 2013, and installed an “overlay skimming device” over the card reader slot of a Central Pacific Bank ATM at 2250 Kalakaua Ave. They left the device on the ATM over the course of three days, capturing the account information of everyone who used the ATM.
Khachaturyan and Apoyan then made counterfeit ATM cards and withdrew money from compromised accounts at an ATM located at The Modern Hotel at 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard, and several other ATMs in Honolulu and California.
The defendants, who returned to California on Feb. 25, caused financial losses in excess of $20,000, the threshold for first-degree identity theft. If convicted, the two face automatic prison terms of up to 20 years.
Khachaturyan was arrested in September and extradited to Honolulu, where he is currently pending trial.
The prosecution of this case resulted from a six-month joint investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service and Honolulu Police Department. The FBI’s Eastern European Organized Crime Task Force, United States Marshals, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Social Security Administration assisted.
Central Pacific Bank and First Hawaiian Bank also cooperated fully with law enforcement.
In 2013, Akop Changryan and Vardan Kagramanyan were prosecuted for installing similar “skimming devices” inside gas pumps at local gas stations. They are currently serving 20-year sentences.