WASHINGTON – Tricia Steele Boutros, a 41-year-old District of Columbia resident, was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment today in federal court in the District of Columbia for spearheading a three-year scheme to defraud financial institutions and account holders of approximately $3.5 million by illegally accessing bank accounts.
Boutros pled guilty to a criminal information charging her with bank fraud on May 1, 2020. According to court papers, Boutros frequently used an encrypted internet network, referred to as the “dark web,” that allowed her to conceal her identity and illicitly obtain login information for bank account holders. Boutros admitted to using the login information to access at least 30 different bank accounts from more than ten different financial institutions. Boutros admitted to transferring money from those accounts to accounts she controlled personally and through entities she established, including a law firm. Boutros also wrote fraudulent checks on some of the accounts she illegally accessed. Court papers state that Boutros made the fraudulent checks payable to herself, to entities she controlled, and to her creditors. Boutros further admitted that she used stolen identities and counterfeit identification documents to open bank accounts through which she facilitated the transfer of fraud proceeds for her benefit.
Court papers state that, in total, Boutros initiated or attempted to initiate at least $3.5 million in fraudulent transactions from the accounts that she illegally accessed. Some of those transfers were stopped before they were processed or were able to be reversed after the fraud was discovered. Boutros admitted to obtaining between $1.3 million and $2.2 million as a result of her fraud scheme.
Boutros was sentenced by the Honorable Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Boutros was ordered to serve 30 months in prison followed by 60 months of supervised release. The Court will determine the amount of restitution owed, which will be at least $1.3 million, at a later date.
The Washington Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Aloi of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section is prosecuting the case. Former Assistant United States Attorneys Denise Simmonds and Anthony Saler also prosecuted the case.