21 July 2016Trademarks

Ex-Wells Fargo manager in $1.2m trademark scam

A former manager at US bank Wells Fargo has been charged for his alleged role in laundering the proceeds of a scam that targeted US trademark owners.

In an indictment, which was unsealed yesterday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that Albert Yagubyan, a former manager at the bank, was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Two other men, Artashes Darbinyan and Orbel Hakobyan, were charged in January this year.

The charges relate to the Trademark Compliance Center and Trademark Compliance Office, operated by Darbinyan, which purported to offer trademark registration and monitoring services.

Mass emails offering registration and monitoring services were sent to owners of recently registered marks.

According to the DoJ, Darbinyan and Hakobyan, with Yagubyan’s help, were able to launder $1.29 million as a result of the scheme.

Yagubyan was the manager at a Wells Fargo branch in California until October 2015.

The DoJ said that between 2013 to 2015 he allowed Darbinyan and Hakobyan to open bogus bank accounts where the money acquired from the scam could be laundered in exchange for a share of the proceeds.

It is alleged that Darbinyan and Hakobyan deposited checks from the victims of the scam into the accounts before Yagubyan instructed Wells Fargo employees to approve withdrawals by the pair.

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