Trucker pleads guilty to conspiracy charge in failed beef heist

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A California truck driver has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to steal $163,000 worth of beef products from a distributor in Omaha, Neb.

Artak Medjbarian, 33, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 7 in U.S. District Court of Nebraska, according to a release from the Nebraska U.S. Attorney’s office. He remains in custody and faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

The charges against Medjbarian stem from a plot that began on or around Jan. 20, 2012, when Medjbarian and other unknown co-conspirators devised a scheme to use fraud and false pretenses to obtain beef products from Nebraska Beef by posing as a representative of Lopez Trucking in California.

An indictment against Medjbarian states that he and the co-conspirators produced a phony operating authority to pick up the beef on behalf of Lopez Trucking when “in fact there was no legitimate business relationship existing” between the two.

Medjbarian was apprehended on Jan. 27, 2012, when he drove to the Nebraska beef facility in a refrigerated cargo truck and attempted to pick up the load of beef.

Jan Sharp, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Nebraska, said some of the paperwork faxed to Nebraska Beef “raised some red flags” with the company.

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