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Glendale man pleads guilty in $14-million investment scam

Antoine Haroutunian, who operated Luminous Wealth Management, faces up to 20 years in prison. He has also admitted to stealing $450,000 from Bank of America and filing a fraudulent tax return.

March 31, 2009|Stuart Pfeifer

A Glendale man pleaded guilty Monday to fraud charges, admitting that he orchestrated an investment scam that bilked victims out of more than $14 million.

Antoine D. Haroutunian raised the money between 2005 and 2008, promising to invest in commercial bridge loans, options and real estate. Instead, he diverted most of the money to himself and associates, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Haroutunian, 47, who operated Luminous Wealth Management and Luminous Management, solicited clients through advertisements in the Los Angeles Times and on the Internet. He promised 24% annual returns.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud before U. S. District Judge Percy Anderson in Los Angeles.

Haroutunian faces a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 3.

The plea marks his third fraud-related conviction in recent months. Haroutunian had earlier pleaded guilty to stealing $450,000 from Bank of America in 2003 while employed as a customer service representative. In addition, he pleaded guilty to tax fraud for filing a fraudulent tax return that allowed him to obtain a $183,345 refund.

Sentencing on the bank and tax fraud cases is scheduled for Aug. 10.

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stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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