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Pair Pleads to Running High-End Automobile Sublease Scam

Hazarian and Hashemi used online ads to convince investors to lease or purchase high-end vehicles

Two men have admitted to stealing nearly $4 million in cash and luxury vehicles in a high-end automobile sublease scam from 2017 to 2019 in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced today.

Arman Mave Hazarian (dob 11/5/71), aka Dean Hazarian, of Tarzana and Afshin Hashemi (dob 8/8/71), aka Al Hashemi, of Hollywood both pleaded no contest yesterday to three felony counts of grand theft of an automobile and one felony count of grand theft of cash.

Hazarian admitted allegations of taking more than $500,000 through fraud and embezzlement and taking property valued at more than $3.2 million.

Hazarian is expected to be sentenced to nine years in state prison and Hashemi is expected to be sentenced to four years in prison under the terms of a negotiated plea agreement. The defendants additionally are required to pay restitution to the 11 defendants named in the felony complaint.

A sentencing and restitution hearing is scheduled on Dec. 6 in Department F of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch.

Deputy District Attorney Alex Karkanen of the Automobile Insurance Fraud Division prosecuted case PA092423.

From August 2017 to February 2019, Hazarian and Hashemi used online ads to convince investors to lease or purchase high-end vehicles and turn them over to the defendants, who were supposed to sublease the vehicles at a profit. The men instead sold the automobiles to unsuspecting buyers and pocketed the cash, leaving the victims financially responsible for the vehicles, according to court testimony.

Some of the victims provided multiple cars to the defendants, resulting in individual losses of up to $750,000.

The defendants also defrauded the secondary buyers by receiving money for the vehicles but never signing over the titles.

The scheme involved the loss of more than 40 vehicles of brands including Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Lexus. Some of the cars were never recovered, the prosecutor said.

A year-long investigation was conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol as part of the Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention (TRAP).


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