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Sibling Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail for Theft of Welfare Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland man was sentenced to 6 months in jail for stealing more than $8,000 in benefits intended for his disabled sister.  Jason I. Boutros, 49, appeared in federal court for sentencing yesterday after previously pleading guilty to Social Security fraud in December.

According to court records and Boutros’ admissions in court, Boutros became his sister’s Representative Payee in February 2009, which enabled him to receive his sister’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a needs-based benefit administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  As the Representative Payee, Boutros was required to report to SSA if his sister left the United States for more than 30 days.  While his sister and other family members were outside the United States for months at a time, Boutros failed to report to SSA as he repeatedly withdrew her benefits.  In addition to his sister’s SSI, Boutros withdrew the SSI benefits being paid to his parents, Zakia and Iskander Boutros, who have also been indicted and are currently fugitives living outside the United States. 

Telling Boutros that he had a “moral obligation” to repay the funds, the Honorable Michael H. Simon ordered Boutros to pay more than $220,000 in restitution to SSA and the Oregon Department of Human Services for the SSI and Medicaid benefits his family received.  He further ordered that $1,900 in currency found in defendant’s residence be applied towards the restitution.  Judge Simon found Boutros’ guideline range to be 0-6 months, stating that despite the government’s “well-marshalled evidence of falsehoods,” the government had not proven that Boutros deserved a higher guideline range for being an organizer, manager, or supervisor of his family’s fraud scheme.  He further stated that he believed a 12-month prison term was justified, but that he did not believe the record supported an upward departure to a higher guideline range.

Boutros was ordered to begin his jail sentence on May 19, 2014.  Boutros’ sister Killda Boutros is scheduled for sentencing April 17, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.

This case was investigated by agents for the Medicaid Fraud Unit, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen L. Cooper as part of a partnership venture between the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon, and the Seattle Region of the Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel.

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