3 men charged in ATM fraud case

Charges have been filed against the three men apprehended in Virginia that State College police suspect used fraudulent credit cards to illegally withdraw money from local ATMs.

Armenian-born Manvez Avakian, 31, of Van Nuys, Calif., and Davit Ghazaryan and Hrayr Margaryan, both 25 and of Brooklyn, face a mixed bag of felony and misdemeanor charges after two rashes of illegal ATM transactions in the area, according to the criminal complaint.

In late March, people from outside the area began contacting State College police about fraudulent ATM transactions that took place in State College, police said. More than $6,000 was reported missing by seven different people and numerous banks reported additional fraud incidents, according to police.

Another set of frauds were reported to police in mid-April, police said.

Avakian and Margaryan are each charged with offenses stemming from both incidents, while Ghazaryan faces charges from the reported thefts in April only, according to court documents. Police believe the credit card information was obtained from a “skimming device” placed on a Harrisburg-area gas pump, according to court documents.

The men were apprehended in Virginia by Spotsylvania County sheriffs and charged with similar offenses on April 21, according to the criminal complaint. Such devices and 150 blank cards with magnetic strips and handwritten PIN numbers were reportedly found in their vehicle when taken into custody, according to court documents.

They are being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail and could face charges from multiple jurisdictions, according to police.

An unidentified woman was photographed with the men by ATM cameras during some of the incidents in State College, but she was not with them when they were taken into custody in Virginia.