La Cañada Flintridge man found guilty in 2 murder-for-hire plots

A La Cañada Flintridge man was found guilty this week of trying to hire a hitman to kill two people the Department of Justice announced.

Arthur Raffy Aslanian, 54, was found guilty of one count each of conspiracy and use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, as well as three arson-related counts.

According to the Justice Department, Aslanian worked with his employee at the time — 41-year-old Sesar Rivera of North Hollywood — to hire a hitman to kill two people, one of Aslanian's former lawyers and another man Aslanian had faced in court.

Investigators said the lawyer represented Aslanian in a successful bankruptcy case, but Aslanian refused to pay the lawfirm more than $250,000 in fees and expenses. The lawyer then threatened to sue Aslanian if he didn't pay his bills. The other person Aslanian was convicted of trying to kill was someone he'd faced in court previously in another case.

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In April 2022, Rivera met a gang member and convicted felon saying that "a real estate businessman named Arthur" wanted to pay him to kill the two people, the DOJ said. Over the next several months, investigators said, Rivera contacted the man multiple times, providing information on the people Aslanian wanted killed, payment info and more. The man recorded portions of one of their conversations and gave a copy to law enforcement.

After warning the two people of the plots against their lives, cops detained Rivera, who agreed to cooperate, leading to Aslanian's arrest.

Unrelated to the murders-for-hire, Aslanian was also charged with, and later found guilty of arson, for paying someone to set fire to a vacant unit at a North Hollywood rental property Aslanian owned, so that the rest of the tenants would be forced to leave the property.

Aslanian pleaded guilty to the murder-for-hire charges, and now faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for those counts. The arson charges also carry a minimum five-year sentence each, with the potential for up to 20 years for each charge. Aslanian is scheduled to be sentenced in September.