Eagle Rock -- Former owners of a T-Mobile store in the Eagle Rock Plaza were arrested Monday on federal charges that allege a $25 million cellphone unlocking scheme.
Argishti Khudaverdyan, 41, of Burbank, and Alen Gharehbagloo, 40, of La Cañada Flintridge, are being charged with multiple felonies, including wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Federal officials have seized more than $2.25 million from bank accounts and residential properties purchased with profits gained from the alleged fraud.
In an operation that spanned August 2014 to January 2019, Khudaverdyan and Gharehbagloo used stolen T-Mobile employee credentials to infiltrate the phone company’s internal computer systems and unlock cell phones to be used on any carrier's network, according to the U.S Attorney.
To gain access to T-Mobile’s internal computers, Khudaverdyan harvested employee information using phishing emails that deceived T-Mobile employees into logging in with their employee credentials.
Authorities said the accused pair had the help of a co-conspirator to use WiFi access points inside T-Mobile stores to log in to the company’s internal network using the stolen employee credentials.
In 2017, Khudaverdyan and Gharehbagloo were also co-owners of Top Tier Solutions, Inc., a T-Mobile retail store in the Eagle Rock Plaza. During that time, the accused pair conspired to fraudulently unlock T-Mobile phones and “clean” phones that were reported lost or stolen.
Investigators have determined that the men obtained more than $25 million in profits from the scheme that they used to pay for real estate in Burbank, Northridge and La Cañada Flintridge.
If convicted, Khudaverdyan would face a maximum of 237 years in federal prison. Gharehbagloo faces a maximum of 235 years in federal prison.