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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- One of the four men arrested for allegedly tampering with electronic keypads at several New England Stop & Shops in order to steal personal information from shoppers has agreed to plead guilty to two federal charges of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Arutyun Shatarevyan, a 20-year-old Los Angeles resident, could serve up to seven years in prison, in addition to paying fines of as much as $250,000 on each charge, according to local press reports.
Meanwhile, one of his co-defendants, 22-year-old Aarman Ter-Esayan of Valley Glen, Calif., has hired California attorney Mark Geragos, known for defending such famous clients as Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder. Like all of the defendants, Geragos is of Armenian descent.
Videotape evidence connects the suspects to 1,100 account thefts at Stop & Shop locations in Providence, Cranston and Coventry, R.I. and eventually, to ATM withdrawals made in California, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Three banks estimated that they lost about $115,000 as a result of the alleged scheme.
In other Ahold USA banner news, Mark Kaiser the former chief marketing officer of scandal-rocked division U.S. Foodservice Inc. was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the earnings overstatement fraud at the company, which came to light in 2003.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Gerschwer had requested a sentence of up to 20 years, while the defense asked for no jail time, pointing out that over a dozen others who entered guilty pleas or admitted taking part in the fraud weren't sent to prison.