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Man gets 20 years for Waikiki gas station scheme

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) -- A man extradited to Hawaii from California was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for his role in stealing credit card information at Waikiki gas stations.

A jury in February found Vardan Kagramany, 39, guilty of identity theft. It will be up to a parole board to determine the minimum time he must serve before he becomes eligible for parole.

Kagramany and co-defendant Akop Changryan must also pay $157,654.56 in restitution to six Hawaii financial institutions. Prosecutors said they installed skimming devices at four gas stations and took credit card and debit card information from nearly 200 accounts.

"The evidence was quite overwhelming" that Kagramany served as the lookout for Changryan, who installed the devices, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Van Marter.

Through a Russian interpreter, Kagramany declined to make any statements in court before he was sentenced.

Changryan's sentencing is set for next week because his defense attorney, William Harrison, said he needed time to speak with his client.

The men were extradited from California, where they faced similar charges. They belong to an Armenian organized crime network, said Dave Koga, a spokesman for the Honolulu prosecuting attorney's office.

Circuit Judge Michael Wilson told Kagramany that he hopes he'll put his talents to productive use when he's released.

"People were affected by this. It wasn't just an inconvenience," Van Marter said, noting that some people couldn't access their money for up to a week. Authorities learned of the scheme when First Hawaiian Bank spotted a large number of account holders had unauthorized activity, he said.


Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at https://www.twitter.com/jenhapa .