Friday, April 12, 2013 at 8:25 a.m.
In 2008, Oganes Nardos--the owner of a court-ordered drug counseling school in Los Angeles County--unwittingly became the target of a 15-month, undercover Homeland Security bribery investigation involving Armenian government officials and the production of fake immigration documents.
An undercover agent offered Nardos $25,000 to get Armenian Consulate officials in Beverly Hills to issue a "Letter of Refusal" stating that they would not accept a certain Armenian-native's deportation return, a move that essentially forced ICE to allow the individual to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.
Nardos, a 40-year-old Armenian-native and owner of Court Ordered Classes and executive director at Absolute Control Transitions Counseling Center, accepted the deal, contacted "high-level officials in Armenian" and asked them to "alter or erase" citizenship records for "Razmik G.," according to INS records.
But Nardos couldn't pull off the deal because Armenian police wanted the man's return so they could question him in an unrelated criminal investigation.
Though he returned the money, Nardos found himself arrested by American agents in 2009 for "obstructing" a federal agency.
In Feb. 2012, the permanent resident and married father of two kids signed a guilty plea in hopes of leniency in punishment.
Both the U.S. Probation Office and a prosecutor in the Department of Justice asked for Nardos to serve at least one year in prison.
Nardos submitted character references from a senior chaplain at the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and a senior pastor from the Word of Life Church Los Angeles.
He also noted he'd "honorably" returned the bribe when the crime fell apart.
This week inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford decided that Nardos didn't deserve a day in prison.
He gave the defendant probation for three years, a $3,000 fine and 200 hours of community service.
The INS investigation resulted in four other arrests in the same bribery scheme with Armenian officials.
According to court records, Nardos has also used the following names: Oganes Arutjunuan, Oganes Nardosovich, Hovannes Harutyunyan and Hovhannes Harutyunyan.