The Tarzana couple were returning from a Caribbean beach vacation last October when they ran into trouble.

On a layover in Miami, a passport scan flagged Richard Ayvazyan and Marietta Terabelian for extra screening. Customs agents led them away. Their luggage and phones were searched.

Ayvazyan was carrying credit cards in the name of “Iuliia Zhadko.” Terabelian had one belonging to “Viktoria Kauichko.”

The FBI had been investigating “Zhadko” and “Kauichko” for months — tailing suspects, rummaging through trash, poring over bank records. Agents suspected the names were aliases used to secure emergency pandemic relief loans for fake small businesses in the San Fernando Valley. Ayvazyan and Terabelian looked to be part of a family fraud ring not well skilled at covering its tracks.

After hours of questioning, they were arrested at 3 a.m. and jailed for the rest of the night.

So began the unraveling of one of the more lurid scams that

Read more…