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Sibling Sentenced to 4 Months in Jail for Theft of Sister's Welfare Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland woman was sentenced to four months in jail for stealing more than $10,000 in benefits intended for her disabled sister.  Killda I. Boutros, 46, appeared in federal court for sentencing last week after previously pleading guilty to Social Security fraud in November. 

According to court records and Boutros’ admissions in court, Boutros became her sister’s Representative Payee in September 2006, which enabled her to receive her 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 her sister left the United States for more than 30 days.  While her sister and other family members were outside the United States for months at a time, Boutros failed to report to SSA as she repeatedly withdrew the benefits. The government also showed the court documents seized from the Boutros family residence that included receipts for restaurant meals, groceries, utilities, and rent that were intended to be used by Boutros as proof of her sister’s expenses. In fact, the receipts were for time periods that her sister was outside the United States, indicating Boutros saved receipts of her own expenses to deceive SSA.

Citing the nature and circumstances of the offense, including the fact that Boutros committed the offense within months of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon sentenced Boutros to four months in custody, despite her lack of criminal history and her assurances that she would not re-offend.  She was further ordered to pay $142,337.10 in restitution to SSA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for SSI and Medicaid benefits fraudulently obtained by other family members.  Judge Simon also advised Boutros that the jail sentence should send a message of “general deterrence” to the public.

Boutros was ordered to begin her jail sentence on June 19, 2014.  Boutros’ brother, Jason, was sentenced to six months in jail in March, and will begin serving his sentence May 19, 2014.  Two family members also charged in the indictment remain fugitives.

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 was 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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