Sullivan County Woman’s Multi-Million Dollar Money Heist
You know you messed up big time when the feds come after you. A Sullivan County woman learned this lesson recently as she was arrested and charged with numerous felonies tied to money laundering and bank fraud.
The intricate scheme took place over multiple years and if convicted, this individual could find themselves behind bars for a few decades.
Details Behind the Multi-Million Dollar Scheme
Last week US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams announced the arrest of Sullivan County resident Tetiana Berriors. In his statement, Williams said that Berriors was charged with...
conspiring to commit money laundering and bank fraud in connection with laundering the proceeds of a series of business email compromise (“BEC”) scams that sought to deceive victims...
In total,over 15 different individuals, businesses, government entities and public institutions were ripped off and robbed of more than $10 million dollars. In addition, Berriors also had stolen the identities of three other individuals and also lied to many banks in order to push the scheme.
Court documents also revealed how it was the Berriors scheme worked. Berriors plan started with the opening of more than a dozen fraudulent banks accounts and it was those accounts which were then used to receive funds from her respective victims. After receiving funds Berriors would then quickly remove the money from the accounts via cash withdrawals, wire transfers and even cashiers checks.
For the checks and wire transfers, Berriors would tie those transactions to one of five different shell (fake) companies. She also used different aliases that were also tied to the shell companies. This is also where the identity theft came into play because three of the aliases that she used were that of real people.
It was also mentioned that Berriors had 'co-conspirators', though no other names were given. In total, Berriors and the other conspirators were able to steal nearly $10 million dollars from more than 15 victims. However, Berriors and her people were only able to successfully obtain $3.5 million. This scheme lasted from roughly December 2020 to October of 2022.
Official Charges and Potential Future for the Accused
Officially Berriors was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. These charges carry maximum sentences of 20 and 30 years respectively. Berriors was also charged with identity theft which is an additional two years behind bars. What time she will actually serve will be determined by the judge assigned to the case, which here it will be U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil.
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US Attorney Williams in his statements discussed how much work by many different agencies and individuals went into this case and making the subsequent arrest. Specifically he named the USSS (United States Secret Service) and special agent in charge Patrick J. Freaney and also recognized the work of the New York City Police Department.
The case is now being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. In addition, a prosecutor has also been assigned to the case as well. That prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. King.