Felony Conviction Obtained in Immigration Fraud Case

OAKLAND, CA – Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley today announced the felony grand theft conviction of Defendant Vosgan Mekhitarian in an immigration fraud case.

On January 28, 2016, Defendant Vosgan Mekhitarian pled no contest to felony grand theft after paying the full amount of restitution (over $50,000) to his victims.

“My Office is dedicated to protecting our citizens from scams and fraud such as that committed by Mr. Mekhitarian,” explains DA O’Malley. “He preyed upon vulnerable individuals hoping to become U.S. citizens. We are grateful to the couragous individual who reported this scam to the authorities, and extremely pleased that we were able to secure full restitution to all those he victimized.”

In April of 2012, Defendant Mekhitarian, a paralegal from Los Angeles, approached several members of a local church in Oakland who were seeking to become US citizens. Mekhitarian represented himself as a person experienced in obtaining legal citizenship for non-citizens and claimed to have a close relationship with a high-level government employee within the US Department of Homeland Security. He promised the victims that he could obtain their United States citizenship for $8,500 per person.

Relying on Mekhitarian’s representations, six victims paid at least $8,000 per person to him to obtain their citizenship. After several months went by, Defendant Mekhitarian made repeated excuses as to why their citizenship applications were being delayed and eventually ceased all contact with the victims and kept all of their money.

In April 2015, the fraud was reported to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and an investigation began. Two months later, the Office filed six felony counts of grand theft against Defendant Mekhitarian. Inspectors from the District Attorney’s Office arrested Mekhitarian at his home in Los Angeles and collected computers, cell phones and business records pursuant to a search warrant.

We ask the public to contact us if they feel they have been a victim of immigration fraud or a scam that sounds similar to this. Please call DA Inspector Eddie Bermudez in our Consumer Protection Division at (510) 383 - 8600.


Posted on Jan 29, 2016