STUDIO CITY—Hollywood residents Afshin Hashemi, 48, and Arman Mave Hazarian, 48, were sentenced to state prison on Friday, December 6 for embezzling nearly $4 million in cash in a luxury automobile sublease scam centered in the San Fernando Valley that took place for over a year.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig sentenced Hazarian to nine years in state prison and Hashemi to four years in Los Angeles County jail after they both pleaded no contest to three felony counts of grand theft of an automobile and one felony count of grand theft.

According to court testimony, Hashemi and Hazarian allegedly used internet ads to convince investors to lease or purchase high-end vehicles and then turn them over to the defendants who were supposed to sublease the vehicles at a profit. The pair are accused of selling the automobiles to unsuspecting buyers and pocketing the cash while the buyers remained financially responsible for the vehicles.

The defendants faced 40 felony counts of grand theft of an automobile and six felony counts of grand theft. The charges include allegations that the defendants scammed victims for more than $500,000 through fraud, embezzlement, and taking property valued at more than $3.2 million.

According to the prosecution, the scheme involved the loss of more than 40 vehicles of famous brands including Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Lexus. Some of the vehicles were never recovered.

The prosecution stated that a few victims allegedly provided multiple cars to the defendants resulting in individual losses of up to $750,000. Hashemi and Hazarian were accused of defrauding the secondary buyers by receiving money for the vehicles, but never signing over the titles.

A year-long investigation was conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol as part of the Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Los Angeles Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention (T.R.A.P.) Headquarters at (626) 873-2357.

Canyon News reached out to The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer, Venusse Navid, requesting more information, but did not hear back before print.