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Police official accused of fraud

Amber Willard

LOS ANGELES -- A Glendale Police official, who already faces

misdemeanor charges for allegedly brandishing a gun at his wife, is

looking at 22 misdemeanor counts in an unrelated case in which he is

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suspected of immigration fraud.

Chahe Keuroghelian, who was a civilian employee assigned to work in

the agency’s community relations unit, has been on paid administrative

leave since August, when an investigation was started by the L.A. County

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district attorney’s office into a business he operates. During that time,

Keuroghelian has received more than $4,200 each month in pay from the

department.

Keuroghelian is among 12 people charged with various forms of

immigration fraud in a three-day sweep announced Tuesday by Dist. Atty.

Steve Cooley. Keuroghelian, 43, allegedly presented himself as a bonded

immigration consultant and did not tell clients he was not an attorney.

“It is always disturbing to discover that a trusted law enforcement

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employee has been charged with criminal complaints,” Glendale Police

Chief Russell Siverling said in a written statement. “We will review the

information and facts gathered by the district attorney’s investigation

to assist us in completing our administrative investigation.

“This is a personnel matter that by law, we must treat confidentially,

being sensitive to the employee’s rights.”

Keuroghelian’s attorney, Mark Geragos, defended him Tuesday afternoon

and called the charges against him “bogus.”

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“The state cannot legislate immigration law because it’s a federal

issue,” Geragos said of California’s Immigration Consultants Act.

The act requires consultants to make a $50,000 bond deposit with the

state’s Secretary of State, provide contracts authorized by the state and

not offer legal advice, among other mandates.

At Tuesday’s news conference, Cooley said his office is entitled to

pursue immigration fraud cases per state law and because the incidents

occurred within the county.

“Los Angeles County enjoys one of the most diverse populations of any

metropolitan center in the world,” Cooley said Tuesday morning. “Sadly,

fraud artists are turning the immigrants’ search for a better life into

an expensive nightmare.”

Prosecutors said they compiled evidence by posing as clients and

during court-issued search warrants.

Keuroghelian is scheduled to be in Glendale court March 29 for the

fraud charges. He is scheduled to have another hearing for the other

misdemeanor charge in San Bernardino County court later this week.


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