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California bank manager pleads guilty in $14M tax fraud scam

A former branch manager at a Wells Fargo bank in Southern California has acknowledged using his position to help launder proceeds of a $14 million tax fraud scam.

The U.S. attorney's office says Hakop Zakaryan (hah-KOHP zah-KAR-yan) pleaded guilty Monday to felony bank fraud. He could face 30 years in prison when he's sentenced Nov. 18.

Prosecutors say the 34-year-old Glendale resident was part of a scheme that used false identities and bogus Republic of Armenia passports to fraudulently obtain millions in tax refunds from the IRS.

Zakaryan acknowledged in his plea agreement that he was paid to illegally "unfreeze" bank accounts that Wells Fargo had frozen because of suspected fraud.

The investigation has resulted in 12 convictions and the seizure of four residential properties and more than $700,000.

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