ARMENIAN ARRESTED IN GLENDALE OVER GIFT CARD FRAUD
The owner of Glendale flower shop was arrested this morning at his hillside home for allegedly using bank account information that he stole from his customers to buy $1,900 in gift cards at Target stores in Glendale and Burbank, Glendale News-Press reported.
Vahik Ghookasian, owner of Daisy's Florist on the 1400 block of West Glenoaks Boulevard, allegedly bought the cards which can be spent anywhere like pre-loaded debit cards and then "purchased" items from his own store to pocket the cash, police said.
Ghookasian allegedly swiped and recorded customer bank account information when they made purchases at his flower shop, and then later re-encoded the information onto credit cards to buy 19, $100-gift cards at the Target stores, police Det. Ralph Garcia said.
Glendale police detectives and Secret Service agents experts in financial crime investigations served search warrants just after 7 a.m. Thursday at his home on the 1600 block of Ridgeview Drive.
Detectives discovered hundreds of re-encoded credits cards, computers, hard drives, embossing and printing equipment inside the home. Agents also found a credit card skimming device at the flower shop.
Due to the equipment and access to consumer information, authorities said the extent of alleged fraud could be far greater.
Ghookasian's wife and son, whose names weren't immediately available, were also arrested on suspicion of fraud, police said.
Detectives found numerous credit cards - each wrapped in a Post-it note with a handwritten three-digit pin - in Ghookasian's son's car, police said.
- 1823 Death of historian Meekael Chamchyan, in Constantinople. He was born in 1738.
- 1853 Start of the battle of Sinop.
- 1908 Birth of the President of the Armenian Academy of Sciences Victor Hambardzoomyan (astrophysicist). He died in 1996.
- 1931 Death of Hovhannes Khan Masenian. He translated Shakespeare into Armenian.
- 1994 While sentencing historian Bernard Lewis in Paris, the French 17th Sessions Court affirmed that in 1915, the Armenians were victims of a crime against humanity.