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Rancho Cordova Man Arrested for Identity Theft and Trafficking in Counterfeit Credit Card Information

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Armenak Avagyan, 28, of Rancho Cordova, was arrested yesterday after being charged in a five-count indictment returned on April 14, 2011 with the use, possession, and trafficking of counterfeit and fraudulent credit cards, as well as identity theft.

The indictment alleges that from 2009 to 2011, Avagyan engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to steal credit card information using "skimmers" installed in gas station pumps to create counterfeit credit cards using stolen information. Those counterfeit cards were then used to charge the victims' credit card accounts for expensive items bought by Avagyan and others in the Sacramento area. Device making equipment found on Avagyan and in his house contained hundreds of names and stolen credit card numbers.

Avagyan was arrested yesterday and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman. He remains in custody and is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on May 5, 2011.

This case is the product of extensive investigations by the El Dorado County Sheriff Department and the Rocklin Police Department. Agents from the United States Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been helping to coordinate and combine the separate investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Morris is prosecuting the case.

If convicted on all counts, the maximum statutory penalty is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, with an additional two-year consecutive sentence for identity theft. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

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