A U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officer was arrested Wednesday for allegedly making a series of withdrawals and deposits in a scheme to hide assets from his estranged wife while the couple were getting divorced.
Vardan Keshishyan, 47, of Glendale, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to prosecutors, Keshishyan, a deportation officer, in 2015 deposited more than $96,000 into a personal bank account he controlled — the proceeds from the sale of a home he shared with his estranged wife, who filed for divorce from him two months earlier.
He then allegedly made 11 cash withdrawals of about $9,000 each, and was at one point warned by a bank manager that it is illegal to break up a large transaction into a series of small ones in an effort to avoid the $10,000 reporting requirement. The manager told Keshishyan the bank would have to file a report to comply with the law, so Keshishyan canceled the transaction and went to a different bank branch to make the $9,000 withdrawal, prosecutors said.
He also allegedly lied during a divorce court hearing, claiming he had lost $95,000 of the home sale proceeds, partly through a bad investment.
He allegedly “structured” $99,000 back into his bank accounts when his divorce was finalized.
If convicted, Keshishyan faces up to 10 years in prison.
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