The arrest this week of a Hollywood couple accused of leaking confidential court records to organized crime groups, including Armenian Power, exposed a major “betrayal within the system” that forced authorities to move up timelines and change tactics to cope with the breach, Glendale police officials said.
Nune Gevorkyan, 35, a federal court employee in Los Angeles, and her husband, Oganes Koshkaryan, 40, were arrested Tuesday on charges that they conspired to obstruct justice by tipping off organized crime about police investigations and upcoming arrests.
“Organized crime is actually infiltrating in areas we wouldn't have expected,” said Glendale Police Lt. Tim Feeley, who oversees the Special Investigation Bureau and the Eurasian Organized Task Force, which includes investigators from the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Glendale, Burbank and Los Angeles police departments.
Gevorkyan's actions, he said, put officers' safety in danger, allowed defendants under investigation to possibly destroy evidence and threatened criminal investigations.
“It's scary that an individual can penetrate the system like that,” Feeley said, adding that it was “a betrayal within the system.”
The couple's involvement with criminal defendants forced investigators on Thursday to move up an operation for fear the suspects would destroy evidence, potentially hurt officers or flee.
Investigators served 11 warrants and arrested three men — Sedrak Karabadzhakyan, Khachik Karabadzhakyan and Vahe Harutyunyan — in connection with a large-scale gas theft operation, Feeley said. Police are still looking for a fourth suspect, he added.
The men were allegedly part of a crew that illegally converted a van to carry 300 gallons of stolen gasoline in its cargo area, essentially making it a “bomb on wheels,” Feeley said.
The gasoline was then allegedly transferred into a gas tanker and sold for a profit.
The investigation into Gevorkyan and her husband came after a massive regional takedown — dubbed “Operation Power Outage” — of dozens of alleged Armenian Power members and associates, who were charged in February 2011 with racketeering, drug trafficking, bank fraud, identity theft, kidnapping and extortion.
At the time, investigators suspected someone had leaked confidential information about the takedown to members of the criminal enterprise because some of the people slated for arrest that day weren't home, Feeley said.
Investigators later received information about Gevorkyan and her husband, an alleged associate of Armenian Power, charging money in exchange for the leaked details, he said.
The task force went undercover to make deals with Koshkaryan to get Gevorkyan, a clerk in the criminal intake area in the district court who had access to sealed and confidential information about criminal defendants involved in ongoing cases, authorities said.
Undercover investigators only needed to provide Koshkaryan with the defendant's first and last name, he said. Koshkaryan told investigators he had “no problem” getting the information for them, and the turnaround was quick, Feeley added.
Koshkaryan provided investigators with vital information about criminal defendants, including details about imminent federal arrest warrants, according to the FBI.