Two plead guilty in Waikiki ATM skimming scheme

Argishti Khachaturyan (left) and Armen Apoyan (right).

Armen Apoyan and Argishti Khachaturyan pleaded guilty as charged Thursday to identity theft in the first-degree in connection with a scheme involving the installation of a credit card reading device onto an ATM in Waikiki in 2013.

According to prosecuting attorney Keith Kaneshiro, the men, both from California, will be sentenced to 20-year prison terms on Mar. 24.

Apoyan and Khachaturyan were indicted by an Oahu grand jury in August 2013. Khachaturyan was arrested in Los Angeles and extradited to Hawaii in September 2013. Apoyan was arrested in Seattle and extradited to Hawaii in March 2014.

The men traveled from Los Angeles to Honolulu in February 2013 and installed what is known as an “overlay skimming device” over the card reader slot of a Central Pacific Bank ATM located at 2250 Kalakaua Avenue.

According to prosecutors, the device was left on the ATM for three days and captured credit card information from users, but CPB says its security records indicate the skimmer on the ATM was in place for 27 minutes (from 5:50-6:17 p.m. on February 23, 2013).

Apoyan and Khachaturyan then made counterfeit credit cards and withdrew money from compromised accounts at an ATM at The Modern Honolulu at 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard as well as several other ATMs in Honolulu and California.

They returned to California after stealing more than $20,000.

The case was handled by deputy prosecuting attorney Christopher Van Marter, chief of the prosecutor’s White Collar Crime Unit.

Van Marter and Kaneshiro credited inter-agency cooperation involved in the investigation and arrests of Apoyan and Khachaturyan. Participants included Honolulu police, the U.S. Secret Service offices in Honolulu, Los Angeles and Seattle, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the Las Vegas and Los Angeles police departments.

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