Ara Keshishyan pleaded guilty today (June 10) to leading and organizing a 14-defendant conspiracy to steal money from Citibank's casino kiosks.
The gang pulled the stunt in ten casinos in California and Nevada, including Pechanga in Temecula. All but one of the conspirators, a fugitive, have now been nabbed.
Here's how it worked: Keshishyan, of Fillmore, recruited his pals to open Citibank accounts that he would fund with seed money. Then the group spread out to the casinos, making identical, fraudulent withdrawals that would circumvent Citibank security protocols, permitting the ring members to withdraw many times more money than had been deposited in the accounts. The withdrawals were below $10,000 to skirt federal transaction reporting requirements.