A defendant who operated a chain of medical clinics was arrested on Aug. 7 on new charges that he unlawfully procured United States citizenship.
The defendant, Armen Simonyan, 44, already faces federal charges of using the clinics to orchestrate a massive narcotics scheme. Simonyan, who was free on bond in the narcotics trafficking case, was re-arrested after being named in a two-count indictment returned on Aug. 7 by a federal grand jury. The new indictment charges Simonyan with unlawful procurement of United States citizenship and making a false statement on a passport application.
The indictment outlines Simonyan’s alleged 15-year history of securing United States immigration benefits by means of fraud and identity theft. Simonyan allegedly entered the United States from Armenia under a stolen identity and a fraudulent passport. He then sought asylum in the United States, allegedly concocting a false narrative that he was born in Azerbaijan to parents of supposed mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani nationality; that his family suffered ethnic violence, including the murder of both his parents; and that he fled to the United States via Russia.
The indictment alleges that, in fact, Simonyan was born in Armenia to Armenian parents, that he entered the United States from Armenia and that both of his parents were alive.
Simonyan will lose his United States citizenship if convicted of the immigration fraud charge. The indictment also charges Simonyan with lying on his application for a United States passport after he gained citizenship. The alleged false statements relate to his place of birth, birth date and his claim that his mother was deceased.
Simonyan was previously indicted last August on charges that he and other conspirators disseminated more than 2 million prescription pills – mostly oxycodone and hydrocodone – on the black market. Simonyan is currently scheduled to go on trial in that case on Feb. 12, 2019.
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