Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Three Los Angeles-area men pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges stemming from a scheme involving the use of “skimming” devices to lift credit card data in order to manufacture and sell phony credit cards.

Armen Bislamian, 33, of Van Nuys, Khachatur Bislamyan, 32, of Pasadena, and Sisak Saribekyan, 28, of Reseda each entered a plea to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Shay.

The men acknowledged conspiring to steal account information from unsuspecting customers and create fake credit cards with the stolen information.

Bislamian admitted to manufacturing and obtaining skimming devices designed to intercept data from credit and debit cards swiped by unsuspecting customers at point-of-sale terminals, according to his plea agreement.

Law enforcement authorities found the skimming devices installed at gas pumps in Irvine, Encinitas and San Diego.

Shay said Bislamian and Bislamyan stored stolen account information at their homes and at a Van Nuys facility dedicated to manufacturing fraudulent credit cards.

The bogus cards were made through a process called “re-encoding” — in which stolen account information is placed on the magnetic strip on the back of a plastic card.

Bislamyan and Saribekyan admitted selling and using fraudulent cards re- encoded with stolen account information.

The amount of restitution to the banks defrauded in the case has not yet been agreed upon, Shay told the court.

Bislamyan and Saribekyan are U.S. citizens, but Bislamian is not and could be subjected to deportation proceedings after he is sentenced, U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow said.

A July 27 sentencing date was set.

— City News Service

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