News Releases

September 1, 2017: Former County Engineer Charged with Bribery, Conflict of Interest

Shiara Dávila-Morales, Media Chief
(213) 257-2000

A former Los Angeles County power plant engineer has been charged with public integrity crimes for allegedly manipulating county bidding procedures in an attempt to have contracts awarded to a friend’s company, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Bjorn Dodd of the Public Integrity Division said Yuri Garabekyan (dob 9/14/53) of Glendale pleaded not guilty at a morning arraignment hearing. The defendant’s next court appearance is schedule for Sept. 29 in Department 50 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Garabekyan is charged with one felony count each of conflict of interest and bribery in case BA460430.

Garabekyan is a former employee of the Los Angeles County Internal Services Department. At the time of the alleged crimes, Garabekyan worked as chief station engineer at the Pitchess Cogeneration Plant in Castaic. Prosecutors allege that Garabekyan used his position to steer million-dollar contracts to a friend’s company to advance his own financial interests.

Prosecutors said Heat Transfer Solutions (HTS) was awarded a $1.4 million contract in July 2010. Two months later, the vice president of HTS – with whom Garabekyan had a personal relationship – allegedly purchased real estate located in Nevada from the defendant for $200,000. In July 2011, a second contract was awarded to HTS for $1.2 million.

If convicted as charged, Garabekyan faces a maximum prison sentence of four years. The case was filed for arrest warrant on Aug. 25.

Prosecutors said the alleged crimes were uncovered during an investigation by the Office of County Investigations, Los Angeles County Auditor Controller’s Office. The case remains under investigation.