A former Simi Valley motorcycle shop owner is facing 17 felony charges, including fraud, as authorities figure out the amount he allegedly stole from victims. It's reportedly in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Authorities say reports are still coming in from victims of the Southern California-based custom shop County Line Cycles and more charges could be laid by the time Arman Castillo Gevorkian, 43, is arraigned May 24. He was booked May 12 on nine counts of grand theft, six counts of receiving stolen property (motor vehicle), one count of auto theft and one count of forgery, according to the Simi Valley Acorn.
The Simi Valley Police Department has been investigating claims of fraud and theft against Gevorkian, who owned the shop since 2009. The shop closed recently due to an eviction, police said.
“Since his arrest, we’ve been flooded with phone calls from the public — people saying thank you for arresting him but, more importantly, also other victims coming forward,” Simi Valley Police Detective Sgt. Robert Arabian, supervisor of the property crimes division, told the newspaper.
Arabian said Gevorkian ran a “Ponzi scheme” in which he would promise to buy a motorcycle for a client, often at a great price. The person would pay Gevorkian for the bike, which was never delivered. “So a lot of people who (thought) they bought a motorcycle really didn’t,” Arabian said.
Several Harley-Davidson motorcycles are included in the losses reported by victims. Losses had reached $400,000 by the end of last week. Other victims said they bought bikes they thought were legal that turned out to be stolen.
“I’m going to bet there’s more than 100 people that have been defrauded, just not all of them have come forward,” Arabian told the newspaper.
Gevorkian is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Posted by Holly Wagner