Lady Justice. Photo via Shutterstock
Lady Justice. Photo via Shutterstock

The owners of two Los Angeles-area drug wholesale companies were among four defendants arrested Wednesday on federal “structuring” charges for allegedly making millions of dollars in cash deposits to circumvent federal reporting requirements.

Richard Kayseryan, the owner of Burbank-based TriMed Medical Wholesalers Inc., is the lead defendant in a 20-count indictment returned April 6 by a Los Angeles federal grand jury.

The indictment charges four people and TriMed in relation to two separate alleged schemes to structure millions of dollars in proceeds through “funnel” bank accounts set up in the names of shell companies.

Kayseryan, 41, of Burbank, was arrested by law enforcement, and the other three — all Glendale residents — surrendered Wednesday morning. They are Derou Biglari, 31, and Jivani Markarian, 33, the two co-owners of Glendale- based drug wholesale business JD Pharmaceutical Wholesaler Inc., and Rafik Mesropyan, 56.

Biglari, Markarian and Mesropyan are charged with depositing millions of dollars of TriMed checks for Kayseryan, and returning the funds to him in the form of cash.

The four defendants and TriMed were scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday afternoon in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.

As part of the scheme, TriMed collected millions of dollars from business activities and Kayseryan prepared checks that he delivered to his co- defendants, prosecutors allege.

The co-conspirators deposited the checks into the funnel accounts and immediately withdrew the funds in cash in amounts at or under $10,000 per transaction, according to the indictment. Such transactions are usually designed to prevent banks from reporting the cash withdrawals to the federal government, which is required for every cash transaction of more than $10,000.

The indictment also charges Kayseryan with lying to federal agents about the funds during an interview in June 2016. Kayseryan is accused of falsely claiming that “he issued TriMed checks payable to the shell businesses,” for the purpose of making interest-bearing “investments,” and that he did not receive “one cent” of the funds, according to the indictment.

“In fact, the businesses did not exist at all, and Kayseryan received millions of dollars in funds back from the checks in the form of cash,” according to the document, which also charges Kayseryan with filing false tax returns that fraudulently overstated TriMed’s business expenses.

Investigators believe that Kayseryan wrote checks to the shell companies from 2010 through 2015 totaling more than $20 million and that Kayseryan falsely claimed those checks were to pay business expenses.

The indictment marks the third phase of “Operation Psyched Out,” which previously resulted in convictions against 17 defendants connected with the operators of a fraudulent medical clinic, Manor Medical Imaging.

A physician employed at the location, Kenneth Johnson, and two owners of a San Marino pharmacy, Phic Lim and Theanna Khou, were convicted in that case. In the second phase, the owner of a Glendale pharmacy, Peter Bagdasarian, was convicted of prescription drug misbranding connected to the scheme.

If convicted of the 20 counts in the indictment, Kayseryan would face up to 94 years in prison, while Biglari and Markarian would each face 45 years and Mesropyan could be sentenced to as much as 35 yearsb ehind bars, prosecutors said.

Two other conspirators, identified in the indictment by initials as M.F. and S.G., previously pleaded guilty to federal structuring charges

—City News Service

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