Secret Service announces arrest of federal fugitive after disappearing for more than 10 years

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DENVER, Colo. (RELEASE) - Today, March 12, the Secret Service is proud to announce the capture of a fugitive who has been on the run since 2008. With support from U.S. federal law enforcement, local authorities in the Republic of Georgia arrested Karen Nikolyan at the Tbilisi Airport after travelling from Istanbul, Turkey over the weekend. Nikolyan fled after appearing and pleading guilty in federal court to bank fraud charges in the District of Colorado in March 2008.

“The arrest announced today illustrates the importance of building strong partnerships,” said John Durkan, Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Office. “I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, as well as our international law enforcement partners for their cooperation in this case."

On June 6, 2007, Nikolyan was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver for a bank fraud scheme. In that case, beginning on April 11, 2007, and continuing through May 11, 2007, the defendant devised a scheme of making, in a short period of time and before liens were of record, multiple applications for home equity in a condominium owned by the defendant located in Aurora, Colorado. A total of 7 financial institutions were defrauded by over $600,000. On March 19, 2008, he pleaded guilty and was free on bond awaiting sentencing. He was scheduled to be sentenced on December 16, 2008. Nikolyan failed to appear for his sentencing hearing. Instead he fled the country. Thanks to the work of the U.S. Secret Service, FBI and other agencies, Nikolyan was found as he made reservations to fly from Turkey to the Republic of Georgia.

“Today’s arrest is due to the tireless work of our law enforcement partners at the Secret Service and the FBI, as well as our prosecutors and those at main justice,” said United States Attorney Jason Dunn. “We commend their hard work and long memory, ensuring that justice will be served after 11 years.”

The United States and the Republic of Georgia will proceed with coordinating extradition in order for Nikolyan to face sentencing on the bank fraud charges he pleaded guilty to more than 10 years ago.