Scottsdale police said a former Motor Vehicles Department employee had deep ties with an Armenian organized crime group operating in the Valley.
Investigators said Gary Khoetsian used his job at a Tempe MVD to hook up his crew with real Arizona IDs that listed fake names and information. Police said the state had no idea it was going on until Scottsdale detectives started asking question.
Investigators told CBS 5 the criminals ripped off local banks and businesses to the tune of a half million dollars.
According to the police report, individuals involved in the criminal syndicate opened more than a dozen fake bank accounts. Investigators said those people made up lies about who they were and left a trail of bad checks across the Valley.
Police said the criminals were quick to cover their tracks and moved often. Karen Karas told CBS 5 people involved in the crime syndicate rented the home next to hers for about a year.
"They changed the locks on the house so the owner wouldn't be able to get in while they were there," said Karas.
One thing Karas said she noticed was a man constantly making phone calls outside the house.
"You really just never know who is next door," said Karas.
Officers arrested Zeev Jakobson, Vartan Mikaelyan, Ruben Movsisyan, Anahit Neresyan, Armine Balasanyan, Karine Doss and Anait Karadjain. They are accused of check fraud, money laundering and forgery.
Six people including Khoetsian are still on the run. Investigators believe those people may be doing the same thing in another state or they might have left the country.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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Thursday, July 31 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:08:39 GMT
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