Burbank Man Who Allegedly Led Prescription Drug Ring Arrested on New Charges of Fraudulently Procuring U.S. Citizenship

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LOS ANGELES – A Burbank man who operated a string of allegedly sham medical clinics – and who already faces federal charges of using the clinics to orchestrate a massive narcotics scheme – was arrested today on new charges that he unlawfully procured United States citizenship.

Armen Simonyan, 44, who was free on bond in the narcotics-trafficking case, was arrested after being named in a two-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury. The new indictment charges Simonyan with unlawful procurement of United States citizenship and making a false statement on a passport application.

Today’s indictment outlines Simonyan’s 15-year history of securing United States immigration benefits via fraud and identity theft. Simonyan allegedly entered the United States from Armenia under a stolen identity and a fraudulent passport. Simonyan then sought asylum in the United States, allegedly concocting a false narrative that he was born in Azerbaijan to parents of supposed mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani nationality; that his family suffered ethnic violence, including the murder of both his parents; and that he fled to the United States via Russia. The indictment alleges that, in fact, Simonyan was born in Armenia to Armenian parents, that he entered the United States from Armenia, and that both of his parents were alive.

Simonyan will lose his United States citizenship if convicted of the immigration fraud charge.

The indictment also charges Simonyan with lying on his application for a United States passport after he gained citizenship. The alleged false statements related to his place of birth, his date of birth, and his claim that his mother was deceased.

Simonyan was previously indicted in August 2017 on charges that he and other conspirators disseminated more than 2 million pills of controlled prescription drugs to the black market, mostly oxycodone and hydrocodone. Simonyan is currently scheduled to go on trial in that case on February 12, 2019.

In the immigration fraud case, Simonyan is expected to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

If convicted of the charges in the new indictment, Simonyan would face a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, in addition to the statutory maximum of 60 years in federal prison that he faces in the narcotics case.