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Viken Keuylian

Other Federal Exonerations with Perjury or False Accusation
In March 2009, 45-year-old Viken Keuylian, owner of Lamborghini Orange County in Santa Ana, California, the world’s largest Lamborghini dealership, was accused by federal authorities of committing a $12 million fraud.

Keuylian was charged with a single count of wire fraud. He was accused of borrowing millions of dollars from Volkswagen Credit International to fund the purchase of expensive Italian luxury cars from the Lamborghini factory, and then failing to repay the loans after the cars were sold. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California contended Keuylian used the money to prop up his other business ventures, including a winery, a commercial building in Newport Beach, California, and a Lotus dealership in Beverly Hills, California.

On May 11, 2009, Keuylian pled guilty to one count of wire fraud. The plea agreement stated that beginning no later than the September 2007, Keuylian became financially overextended and instead of using the proceeds of the sales of cars to pay Volkswagen Credit, he used the funds to keep his other businesses afloat. Keuylian was accused of deceiving Volkswagen Credit into believing that certain cars were still unsold, when in fact the cars had been sold and Volkswagen Credit was not paid. According to the plea agreement, at least 54 of the cars had been sold, representing $12,560,314 in loans. Keuylian sold the cars for $8,163,275 in cash and received trade-in cars worth another $854,770.

While awaiting sentencing, Keuylian was battling civil lawsuits filed by Volkswagen Credit as well as other creditors. His lawyer discovered records that established that Volkswagen Credit was “well aware that the cars referred to in the plea agreement were sold and that (Volkswagen Credit) never had any right to the proceeds from the sale of any particular vehicle.”

Moreover, Keuylian’s attorney learned that Volkswagen Credit knew all along that the money was not being immediately paid back when the cars were sold. The arrangement “was part of a joint effort by (Volkswagen Credit), the (Lamborghini) factory and Keuylian to support the reputation of the Lamborghini brand and Lamborghini expansion plans.”

In April 2012, Keuylian filed a motion seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, citing the newly discovered evidence and claiming that Keuylian always believed the fraud allegation was false, but could not prove it until he obtained the documents as part of the civil lawsuit.

Keuylian’s motion also alleged that he was told that if he did not plead guilty he would be charged with money laundering and would face a significantly larger sentence. He also claimed that he had been told by the prosecution that if he did not plead guilty, his sister would be charged with fraud as well.

On July 2, 2012, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney granted Keuylian’s motion, his guilty plea was withdrawn and his conviction vacated.
In May 2014, Keuylian’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charge against him for failure to state a criminal offense. The motion argued that “even if Keuylian did not intend to repay (Volkswagen Credit) the money it loaned him when he sold 54 cars in October 2008 (which Keuylian vehemently disputes), this would not constitute a ‘scheme or artifice to defraud’ within the meaning of the federal wire fraud statute.”

The motion argued that the indictment did not accuse Keuylian of selling the cars with the intent to obtain additional money from Volkswagen Credit, nor did it accuse him of intending to defraud Volkswagen Credit when he borrowed the money in the first place.

On June 2, 2014, Judge Carney granted the motion and dismissed the case.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/16/2014
Most Serious Crime:Fraud
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Sentence:Not sentenced
Age at the date of reported crime:45
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No