May 21, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

San Gabriel Valley Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Murder-For-Hire Plot Against Brentwood Resident

Arthur Raffy Aslanian found guilty in federal court; co-conspirator faces sentencing

A man from the San Gabriel Valley received a federal prison sentence of 240 months today for orchestrating murder-for-hire plots and attempting to burn down a North Hollywood apartment complex he owned. Arthur Raffy Aslanian, 55, of La Cañada Flintridge, faced sentencing by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal, who additionally ordered Aslanian to pay $15,371 in restitution and fined him $200,000.

Following a five-day trial in July 2023, a jury found Aslanian guilty on multiple charges including the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, conspiracy to commit arson, attempted arson, and arson of a building used in interstate commerce.

“This defendant thought he could get away with murder by financing a murder plot against two of his rivals,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “He will now serve a well-deserved lengthy prison sentence. This case should serve as a cautionary tale to those who would resort to violence to settle their disputes: You will be caught and the consequences will be severe.”

Aslanian conspired with Sesar Rivera, 41, of North Hollywood, to hire a hitman to murder two individuals identified in court documents as “M.Y.” and “S.E.” M.Y. was Aslanian’s former lawyer who represented him in a bankruptcy proceeding, while S.E. was a litigant who defeated Aslanian in court after Aslanian tried to take possession of the Brentwood home in which S.E.’s parents lived.

Rivera, who was Aslanian’s employee at the time, facilitated meetings between Aslanian and a convicted felon, where plans for the murders were discussed. Law enforcement intervened before the murders could take place, warning the intended victims and detaining Rivera for questioning. Aslanian was arrested shortly after being shown a staged murder photograph of S.E.

In a separate incident, Aslanian paid an individual to set fire to a rental property he owned in North Hollywood, aiming to force low-income tenants out of the building.

Rivera pleaded guilty in March 2023 to charges related to his involvement in the murder-for-hire plots and faces sentencing in July.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) conducted the investigation, with assistance from Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin J. Butler, Kevin B. Reidy, and Eli A. Alcaraz prosecuting the case.

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