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May 15, 2001

Qorboone LA beram man...

County Charges 18 in Welfare Fraud Schemes

Los Angeles Times Staff
May 15, 2001

A Beverly Hills couple who had been sending their two children to a private school since 1994--while allegedly receiving welfare since 1988--were among 18 people arrested Friday and charged with filing nearly $750,000 in fraudulent welfare claims, a county prosecutor said.

District attorney's investigators became suspicious of Elizabeth Mehdi Kermani, 36, and Morad Khalimi Khalili, 45, in January 1999 when the couple allegedly had their welfare statements sent to their new home in Beverly Hills.

Investigators said the couple collected more than $76,000.

Sam Mui Luu, 42, and Paul Lai, 41, a now-divorced Rosemead couple, also were arrested during Friday's sweep. They allegedly accumulated more than $1 million in real estate, stocks and savings while Luu collected more than $210,000 in welfare payments over 13 years, investigators said.

"We made a decision to target some of the worst offenders that we knew about, and we were very successful in making 18 arrests and seizing close to $500,000," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Phil Rabichow.

Others arrested:

* Minoo Yazdani, 52, and Jamshid Yazdani, 63, of Beverly Hills, who owned a printing business in the Mid-Wilshire area, lived in a Beverly Hills condominium and drove a 1993 Lexus while allegedly receiving nearly $49,000 in welfare payments.

* Yaghoub Kermanshahi, 50, of Northridge, who owns an electric supply store in Burbank and allegedly collected nearly $58,000 in welfare payments while he and his wife sent their daughter to a private school.

* Valentina Isakhanyan, 37, and Grayr Nikogosyan, 39, of Glendale, who are accused of fraudulently collecting almost $70,000. The two vacationed in Cancun and owned a 1990 Mercedes-Benz, investigators said. Nikogosyan allegedly failed to report he was working at a towing service, investigators said.

* Mari Kyurklyan, 41, of North Hollywood, charged with fraudulently receiving more than $58,000 in welfare payments between September 1994 and January 2000. She and her family allegedly hid the fact that they opened a family jewelry business, bought expensive cars and a home while applying for welfare, investigators said.

* Hilda Hadany Asatourian, 40, and Edward Asatur Asatourian, 42, of Sunland, who allegedly collected $51,473 in welfare payments between May 1996 and December 2000 while owning a video store.

* Victor Soliman Ghazarian, 51, and Vivian Arman Ghazarian, 40, of Los Angeles, who are accused of fraudulently collecting more than $61,000. Victor Ghazarian allegedly earned $2,000 a week managing his brother's dry-cleaning business and was earning $2,000 a month while claiming to be unemployed, investigators said.

* Robert Avetisyan, 36, and Karine Avetisyan, 33, of Los Angeles, who are accused of failing to disclose that they made a $20,000 down payment on a home. They are charged with fraudulently collecting nearly $36,000.

* Simin Javaherian, 58, and Nazila Javaherian, 35, accused of fraudulently collecting more than $27,000.

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