An arrest has been made in Los Angeles in the search for one of two suspects in an automatic teller machine skimming operation that siphoned more than $20,000 from local residents.
City Prosecutor Keith M. Kaneshiro announced this afternoon that Argishti Khachaturyan, 33, was arrested in California on Tuesday.
An Oahu grand jury indicted Khachaturyan and Armen Apoyan, 33, on conspiracy and identity theft charges on Aug. 20.
Apoyan is still at large, the prosecutor said.
The indictment, unsealed Wednesday, alleges that the two arrived here from Los Angeles on February 21 and later installed an "overlay skimming device" over the card reader slot of a Central Pacific Bank ATM located at 2250 Kalakaua Avenue, according to a press release.
The device was left on the ATM for three days and captured account information from ATM users.
Khachaturyan and Apoyan allegedly made counterfeit ATM cards and withdrew money from compromised accounts at an ATM located at The Modern Hotel at 1775 Ala Moana Blvd., and several other ATMs in Honolulu and California, authorities said.
They returned to California on Feb. 25, allegedly stealing more than $20,000 through the scheme.
"Today’s indictment is further evidence that law enforcement in Hawaii takes identity theft very seriously and will continue to pursue and prosecute these criminals wherever they may flee," Kaneshiro said in a statement. "Earlier this year, we prosecuted two men for installing ‘skimming devices’ inside gas pumps at local gas stations. Those two, Akop Changryan and Vardan Kagramanyan, are now serving 20-year sentences."
If convicted, Khachaturyan and Apoyan face automatic prison terms of up to 20 years.
The case was investigated jointly by the U.S. 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 cooperated with authorities.