October 28, 2022 — After decades of dodging the feds, Los Angeles Armenian mob boss Levon (The Lion) Dermen was finally tripped up by a billion-dollar biofuel gas scam targeting U.S. tax cuts, incentivized payments and reimbursements he was running in conjunction with an offshoot of the Mormon Church known as “The Order,” a polygamist sect — some go as far as calling it a cult — dating backs to the days of FDR and without question a genuine force of nature in the Salt Lake City area.
The immensely rich and powerful, Dermen, 56, was convicted three years ago in the biofuel con and is serving a two-decade prison term in a Utah federal correctional facility. Reporting by LA Magazine and a review of court documents and law enforcement records related to the investigation by Gangster Report paint a vivid picture of a bountiful racket going bad because of greed and hubris.
The Armenian mafia in North America is based out of Southern California. Dermen immigrated with his parents to L.A. as a 14-year old boy in 1980. A high school dropout and self-made business and crime mogul, Dermen built his fortune in the 1990s, stacking hundreds of millions of dollars both legally and illegally.
Dermen owned a fleet of gas stations in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Glendale, a series of truck stops up and down the Pacific Coast Highway and a number of fuel-trucking companies with contracts dotting major cartage-hauling hubs across the country. Derman was nearly a billionaire by the dawning of the New Millenium and had forged valuable relationships in other ethnic organized crime groups, like running gambling and drug rackets with the Russians, the Italians, Mexicans and Middle-Easterners, and within the political and police apparatus on the West Coast by earning a reputation as a major campaign donor. per one of Dermen’s federal law enforcement rap sheets.
Shielded by an array of legitimate businesses, a large cadre of loyal lieutenants and allies in the entertainment industry, Dermen proved elusive for authorities to bust. He beat cases both at the federal (1993 gasoline bootlegging scam indictment) and state (2003 assault with a deadly weapon arrest stemming from an altercation with a police officer) levels. His Bel Air estate is worth an estimated $20,000,000 and his lavish 50th birthday party in 2016 held at a luxury hotel featured real Lions roaming the banquet facility (be it on leashes with trainers).
Seated at a prominently-placed table at the Lion’s 2015 b-day bash was a contingent of polygamist Mormons led by Jacob Kingston of the prosperous and power-wielding Salt Lake City Kingston clan of Davis County. Next to them was a table occupied by Edgar Sargsyan, Dermen’s top adviser, the Armenian mob’s official fixer and in-house “lawyer,” the man who spoke for the Lion on the street and in the boardroom, akin to the Tom Hagen character in The Godfather book and films.
Despite not having a law license, Sargsyan, 41, headed the Pillar Law Group in Beverly Hills. He acted as Dermen’s entry point for introductions to celebrities and politicians and often boasted of being groomed to succeed The Lion as the boss of the Armenian mob to those closest to him.
The Kingstons have long headed a Church of Latter-Day Saints offshoot called The Order founded by Jacob Kingston’s great grandfather Eldon Kingston at the height of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Jacob’s uncle Paul Kingston is the leader of The Order right now. Daniel Kingston, Paul’s brother and Jacob’s father, is The Order’s “Sergeant-at-Arms.”
Back in 2012, the Kingstons and the Armenian mafia linked up in the black-market biofuel trade. Jacob Kingston constructed a government-subsidy scam based on shipping biofuel drums around the United States and collecting millions a month in fraudulent federally-supplemented cash benefits and tax rebates.
According to FBI surveillance logs, Dermen and members of The Order first met in person at Dermen’s palatial business office complex in Beverly Hills in March 2012. Less than three weeks later, the Lion flew to Salt Lake City and visited The Order’s compound in the wake of impromptu trips to Seattle, Aspen and Las Vegas.
Dermen pumped millions into the Kingston’s scheme and pocketed hundreds of millions. He kept tabs on those keeping tabs on him from cultivating three separate moles at various law enforcement agencies; one in the FBI, one in the DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) and a Glendale Police Department narcotics detective.
Ultimately, the most pressing issues for The Lion came from within his own camp. Two of the men closest to him were skimming the till. At least one person inside The Order was feeding information to the feds and The Lion himself was secretly falling in love with one of Jacob Kingston’s wives.
The start of the FBI probe into the biofuel scam came from a female member of The Order in 2015. Months later, the feds commenced a series of raids, hitting a number of offices and businesses connected to Jacob Kingston and Dermen. Leaders of The Order caught Kingston stealing from the operation and alerted The Lion.
As the net began to close on Dermen and Kingston, The Lion was wining, dining and romancing Jacob’s youngest wife, Hannah. FBI agents surveilled the couple’s secret trysts and leaked documentation of the love affair to Kingston, who flipped after being caught getting on a plane to Turkey in an attempt to leave the country.
Worried that time was running out on the scam and possibly his own freedom, Sargsyan started stealing from the operation; a total of $23,000,000 and one of Dermen’s private jets. When Sargsyan realized that the Lion was hip to what he was doing, fled in fear for his life. Soon thereafter, he cut a deal with the U.S. government to testify against Dermen.
The indictment landed in August 2018. The Lion has been in federal custody ever since. Convicted at trial — where Kingston and Sargsyan were the star witnesses –, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His dirty FBI agent, Babak Broumand was convicted of taking bribes and corruption earlier this month.
Sargsyan is in hiding, telling people he worries Dermen and the Armenian mob family he was once a part of, are actively trying to locate him in the Witness Protection Program and kill him for his betrayal. Last month, he testified in the Broumand trial. Right before Derman was arrested, he burst into a private meeting between Sargsyan and his attorneys in a backroom of a Downtown L.A. restaurant near the U.S. District Courthouse and hurled curses and threats at him in Armenian prior to being escorted off the premises by law enforcement.
This article was originally posted here