Descendants of Armenian Genocide victims to receive $2.1M

About $2.1 million finally will be paid out from a compensation fund for descendants of Armenian Genocide victims that had been ensnared in litigation for more than a year.

During a hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder said if attorneys agree on the plan, checks to about 100 claimants should be cut.

“Let's get that done sooner, rather than later,” she said.

The deal on the payout, reached between a group of attorneys who have sparred over control and accounting of the fund, comes after the firm Holthouse, Carlin and Van Tright verified the claims.

There should be about $700,000 remaining in the fund after the payout, with some claims still pending.

During the review by Holthouse, Carlin and Van Tright, however, accountants found 17 checks that were endorsed by “Boyajian and Associates,” headed by attorney Berj Boyajian, even though they were made out to other individuals, according to a motion filed in court.

Glendale-based attorney Vartkes Yeghiayan had originally requested a review of all 13,000 claims made to a compensation fund set up by France-based insurer AXA S.A. to look for possible discrepancies, but his attorney, Roman Silberfeld — along with attorneys Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck — reached an agreement earlier this year requiring only that claims for $15,000 or more be reviewed.

The checks signed by Boyajian and Associates totaled about $312,000, according to the motion filed by Silberfeld.

Silberfeld cites two claimants who had checks made out to them but that were cashed by Boyajian. When contacted, they said they did not authorize anyone to deposit the checks on their behalf.

In an interview after the court hearing, Boyajian said he deposited six checks into a trust fund — a move that was authorized by his clients.

The money in the trust fund will eventually go back to his clients or their beneficiaries, Boyajian added.

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