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Fugitive COVID loan scammers sentenced to federal prison

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Posted at 9:15 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 12:15:11-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Los Angeles couple who were convicted of trying to steal $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds have been sentenced to federal prison, although they remain fugitives.

A judge on Monday sentenced Richard Ayvazyan to 17 years and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, got six years.

Prosecutors say they and others used dozens of phony or stolen identities to submit applications for federal COVID-19 relief funds that were intended to help struggling businesses during the pandemic.

Instead, authorities say they received millions that were spent on luxury items, including gold, luxury goods and down payments on homes.