BURBANK -- Three Burbank residents have pleaded not guilty to taking
part in an alleged credit card and counterfeit fraud ring that was busted
in an FBI sting.
The three Burbank suspects were arrested Nov. 23 along with 14 others
in the Los Angeles area. FBI officers say those arrested were linked to
an undercover sting that was set up in a Santa Monica storefront. There,
the U.S. attorney’s office said, FBI operatives purchased more than $1
million in stolen and counterfeit bank checks and more than 100
counterfeit credit cards.
Dany Joe Georges, 29, and his wife, Caroline Arabian Georges, 26, are
accused of five counts of trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, said
Asst. U.S. Atty. Chris Johnson. Antranik Keymetlian, 63, also known as
Tony Keey, is accused of possessing counterfeit currency and counterfeit
All three denied the charges Monday in U.S. District Court.
Dany Georges was released on $50,000 bond and his wife, Caroline was
released on $25,000, Johnson said. On Tuesday, Johnson was unsure if
Keymetlian had posted his $25,000 bond.
Officials said the Georges sold counterfeit credit cards to undercover
FBI agents at the Santa Monica store. The credit card numbers were
legitimate but the cards were fake, Johnson said.
Though he would not go into detail about how the credit cards are made
or how the Georges obtained their credit card numbers, Johnson said
crooks can sometimes get numbers from machines used by businesses.
The couple own the Middle East Connection restaurant on Burbank
Boulevard, but it was unclear if that is where the numbers originated, he
“They (the thief) keep some of the numbers they run through and then
sell or give the information to some compatriot,” Johnson said.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Dany Georges said he was instructed by his
attorney to not comment on the charges. Georges said he does not own the
11-year-old restaurant, saying he was its manager.
Keymetlian allegedly sold FBI agents counterfeit cashier’s checks. The
checks -- often for businesses -- were in increments from $20 to $50,
FBI officials said the investigation initially started looking into
credit card fraud but once the undercover business front was set up,
agents began purchasing a variety of contraband, ranging from counterfeit
checks to drugs, Johnson said. One person even solicited a murder for
hire, he added.