Citrus Heights Man Arrested for American Express Credit Card Scam
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 20, 2013|
SACRAMENTO—Oganes Serobyan, 40, of Citrus Heights, was arrested today for a credit card fraud scheme and money laundering, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
On February 14, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a 36-count indictment that was unsealed after Serobyan’s arrest. He is scheduled to be arraigned on February 22, 2013.
According to the indictment, in November 2009, Serobyan established a sham business, Link & Work Holdings LLC, which purported to sell e-books online. Between November 2010 and May 2011, the company unlawfully obtained American Express charge card numbers and made tens of thousands of unauthorized charges on them that were ultimately credited to Link & Work Holdings’ bank account. More than 26,000 American Express account numbers were unlawfully charged during the scheme. At least $390,000 fraudulent charges were attempted, resulting in the Link and Work Holdings account receiving at least $270,000 from American Express. Many customers complained about the unauthorized transactions, and American Express closed Link & Work Holdings’ merchant account.
The indictment alleges that Serobyan subsequently withdrew that money from the company’s bank account in amounts designed to avoid federal currency reporting requirements.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michele Beckwith is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Serobyan faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.