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Terry Goddard Announces Indictments in Two Criminal Fraud Cases

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Oct. 29, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced indictments in two major cases of criminal fraud.

Gevorg Melkonyan, 23, of Glendale, and Elina Arutyunova, 44, of Phoenix, were indicted on multiple charges that include fraud, theft, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. They are accused of submitting fraudulent health insurance claims under the name of a Scottsdale doctor, who had nothing to do with the claims.

After Dr. Scott Bernstein filed a complaint regarding the false claims, it was discovered that the two Valley “medical centers,” from which the claims were submitted, were actually empty businesses. It was also learned that the names and insurance information of 128 people were used to submit fraudulent claims to 10 different health insurance companies. The insurance companies were billed for $667,858 in fraudulent claims, and according to the indictment, they paid more than $108,000 to the defendants.

Gevorg's father, Ruben Melkonyan, is listed as President of the fraudulent medical centers in their articles of incorporation filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission. He reportedly died in Moscow, Russia, on May 6, 2009, during the course of this investigation. Ruben Melkonyan was also a primary suspect in the case.

The case was investigated by the Arizona Department of Insurance Fraud Unit and is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beverly Rudnick.

In the second case, Travis Richey, 28, of Sun City, along with his companies, Trademark Capital Management, L.L.C., and Blue Investments, L.L.C., were indicted on charges that include fraud and violations of various securities laws.

In 2007 and 2008, Richey played a key role in a multi-state Ponzi scheme, which cost his investors in Arizona and California more than $1.1 million. Richey obtained investors by making group presentations filled with false promises of corporate ownership and high returns on investment. Richey also falsely stated that he had close relationships with the presidents of major banks and that he was one of the few people who could borrow money from the Federal Reserve.

After convincing a victim to invest, Richey would collect an initial payment of $10,000 from the investor to “purchase” a shell corporation, promising a guaranteed 2 percent dividend per month. He would then typically attain a $2 million line of credit “for the investor,” take a 16 percent cut for himself, and claim to be investing the remaining money in a multi-million-dollar hedge fund.

No such hedge fund existed, however, and instead of investing the money as promised, Richey would simply forward it to a Utah corporation in exchange for commissions. The Utah corporation, which was part of another, larger Ponzi scheme, was run by Ray Morris, who was recently indicted by a federal grand jury for his involvement in the scheme.

Richey was never licensed to sell securities in Arizona, despite claiming that he held series 6, 7, and 13 licenses.

The case was investigated by Paul Huynh of the Arizona Corporation Commission and is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jonathon Goebel.

Photos of all three defendants and their indictments are attached. For more information, contact Steve Wilson at (602) 542-8351.