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Man extradited in ATM 'card skimming' scheme

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 3:08 p.m. HST, Apr 14, 2014

An alleged 33-year-old Los Angeles con man is in Honolulu to face charges of participating in an  ATM skimming operation in Waikiki last summer.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Armen Apoyan and co-defendant Argishti Khachaturyan for conspiracy and identity theft in August.

Apoyan was arrested in Seattle on March 11.

He was extradited to Honolulu on Friday. His bail is set at $250,000.

Co-defendant Khachaturyan, 33, is scheduled for a Circuit Court jury trial beginning on June 16. He was arrested in September and extradited to Honolulu, where he is being held in Oahu Community Correctional Center, unable to post bail of $250,000.

The grand jury indictment said that the pair arrived here from Los Angeles on Feb. 21, 2013, and installed an "overlay skimming device" over the card-reader slot of a Central Pacific Bank ATM at 2250 Kalakaua Ave. The device was left on the ATM for three days and captured the account information of everyone who used the machine.

The men allegedly removed the device then made counterfeit ATM cards, which they used to withdraw money from the victims' accounts at an ATM at The Modern Hotel at 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. and at several other ATMs in Honolulu and California.

If convicted, Apoyan and Khachaturyan face prison terms of up to 20 years.

Last year two other Los Angeles men, Akop Changryan and Vardan Kagramanyan, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for installing skimming devices on gas pumps. In that case, devices were installed on pumps at four Oahu gas stations in 2010. Account data was taken from 156 people, and more than $150,000 was stolen.

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