- Associated Press - Monday, November 10, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A reputed leader of a Southern California gang that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars through sophisticated fraud schemes has been sentenced to 32 years in federal prison.

Mher Darbinyan of Valencia was sentenced Monday for racketeering conspiracy, extortion and other crimes.

Prosecutors say Darbinyan - also known as “Hollywood Mike” and “Capone” - was a leader of the Armenian Power gang and ran a bank fraud scheme that cashed phony checks drawn on the accounts of jewelry businesses and elderly bank customers.

Authorities say he also ran a skimming operation that stole debit card information from thousands of customers of 99 Cents Only Stores.

Darbinyan was among 90 people charged with federal crimes in a 2011 crackdown on the gang. All but three have been convicted.

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