A Northridge man was sentenced Thursday to 21 years and seven months behind bars for overseeing a long-running $3.3 million credit card, loan and real estate fraud scheme that frequently used the stolen identities of children.
Turhan Armstrong, 50, was also ordered to pay $3.3 million in restitution, and must forfeit two homes — one in Northridge, the other in Perris — purchased with illicit funds obtained from the scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Armstrong was convicted in Los Angeles federal court in May 2019 of all 51 counts in a grand jury indictment, including multiple conspiracy charges, financial institution fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
Evidence presented during the two-week trial showed that Armstrong used stolen identities and Social Security numbers to obtain credit cards, open bank accounts, set up shell companies, apply for loans and purchase homes and cars.
Armstrong and his co-defendants favored using the Social Security numbers of children and people who had left the United States because they would be less likely to monitor their credit.
Prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum that Armstrong’s nationwide fraud scheme was successful for at least eight years.
The defendant “had not a single dollar of reported income between roughly 2009 and his arrest at the end of 2017,” according to the document. “Yet during this time period, he lived an opulent lifestyle, traversing the country, maintaining residences in three different states, obtaining luxury vehicles and using fraudulent credit cards to shop expensive brands. The victims of defendant’s crimes run the gamut: banks, credit card issuers, car dealerships, utility companies and the people all over the country whose identities defendant stole.”
Co-defendants Mounir Deiri, 59, of Van Nuys, and Andres Velarde, 57, of Culver City, each pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges in this case and are serving federal prison sentences of 51 months and 60 months, respectively.