Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A man accused of taking part with a brokerage employee in a scheme to steal nearly $500,000 from a client pleaded not guilty Thursday to grand theft and money laundering charges.

Akop Ter Pogosyan, 44, also denied sentence-enhancing allegations for theft exceeding $150,000. He’s being held without bail pending his next court appearance on Nov. 13 at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Co-defendant Anna Khatchatrian, who faces the same charges, is named in an arrest warrant issued Oct. 29.

Khatchatrian was a Morgan Stanley broker for a client who received a home equity line of credit for $499,085 to pay back taxes, according to an affidavit filed in support of the arrest warrant by Irvine police investigator Melissa Partida.

On Nov. 6, 2013, the money was wired out of the client’s account into another account that had Pogosyan listed as a signer, Partida alleged.

When the victim confronted Khatchatrian, she told him they had previously discussed his investing in a jewelry business and that the money was used for that purpose, Partida alleged.

The client said he recalled the conversation but reminded her he had rejected the proposal, Partida alleged. He was then shown a contract with his signature on it, but a handwriting expert determined it was a forgery, according to the investigator.

The client’s money was “laundered back and forth among various accounts,” Partida alleged in the arrest warrant affidavit, and his account was cleaned out by the end of December 2013, she said.

Khatchatrian allegedly told the client that she would pay him back by Dec. 11, 2013, but he never received any money, Partida said. Morgan Stanley officials likewise said they would reimburse the man, but have not done so, according to the investigator.

Pogosyan’s attorney, Michael Artan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Wire reports 

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