Mike Hakopyan Arrested, Accused of Running 'Russian Call Girl Ring' Out of Santa Monica, L.A.
It all started last year when customs officials spied two (dare we assume attractive?) Latvian women who just arrived at LAX from Moscow. What was the purpose of their visit? Their stories, federal authorities now say, didn't add up. But they had one thing in common:
cityvibe.com Olga (who's not a suspect in this case).
A man named Mher "Mike" Hakopyan had booked their flights.
The duo was turned away and forced to fly back to Russia. But that was only the beginning:
It led to an investigation into what feds are calling a "Russian call girl ring" being run out of Santa Monica and L.A. that was busted this week.
Hakopyan, 38, was arrested, along with his wife, 31-year-old Natalya Muravyeva, on Monday.
According to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the duo, along with his on-the-loose ex-wife, 43-year-old Alla Kassianova, operated a "large-scale prostitution enterprise" and are facing charges of "conspiracy to transport in furtherance of prostitution."
Feds allege the three imported women from Eastern Europe to work as prostitutes and advertised their services on cityvibe.com, eros-guide.com and thatmall.com.
Authorities say they've tied at least 14 women to the ring.
The conspiracy, ICE alleges, worked like this: Hakopyan and company would arrange interested women to come stateside and enter legally via the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
Once here, they would allegedly set the women up with places to stay and professional photo sessions so their wares could be advertised on the sites.
Search warrants were served Monday on three residences believed to have been used as "brothels" as part of the ring, ICE says.
The husband-and-wife duo were being held without bail and could see five years behind bars if convicted, according to ICE. Kassianova might have fled the country, officials said.