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Daily Court Reporter - Man who led online car sales scam sentenced to more than 14 years in prison


Man who led online car sales scam sentenced to more than 14 years in prison

The leader of an online car sales scam that cheated hundreds of victims around the country out of more than $10.6 million total was sentenced in federal court recently to 170 months in prison.

Terry J. Boutwell, 38, of Columbus, and others, pretended to part of an eBay program in order steal money through fake car sales.

Boutwell pleaded guilty in July 2019 to conspiring to commit money laundering. As part of his sentencing, he is ordered to pay $10,639,225.91 in restitution.

Court documents outline that Boutwell and others operated the scheme from 2015 until October 2018. He and the other co-conspirators were part of a network that attracted online customers through fraudulent postings for vehicle sales.

Defendants communicated with victims through email and phone, posing as employees of eBay, and used third parties to open bank accounts in the names of shell corporations that appeared to be affiliated with eBay. They instructed victims to wire funds to various third-party bank accounts they set up. They claimed to be affiliated with eBay’s Buyer Protection Program, when in fact, no such relationship existed.

Accounts in Boutwell’s control received more than $10.6 million from more than 850 victims around the country.

“Boutwell and his co-conspirators may have been dedicated to carrying out this sophisticated scheme, but our law enforcement partners on all levels throughout the country were just as dedicated to getting justice for the hundreds of victims who lost hard-earned money to this criminal conspiracy,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel. “Now, through restitution, we hope to get that money back to them. In the meantime, Boutwell will be serving a lengthy stay in federal prison.”

“This case serves as an unfortunate reminder that scammers will find new and sinister ways to relieve you of your hard-earned dollars,” Patel added. “Any attempt to communicate or make payment outside of an online merchant’s existing system should be met with extreme skepticism and caution.”

Two co-conspirators have also been sentenced in this case. Tiffany A. Strobl, 41, of Columbus, was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution. Shalitha R. Schexnayder, 41, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to six months of home confinement as part of five years of federal probation.

Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A Sargus, Jr. Assistant United States Attorney Noah Litton is representing the United States in this case.

Acting U.S. Attorney Patel recognized the assistance of United States Secret Service in Toledo, Ohio and Miami, Florida; the FBI’s Baltimore field office; United States Postal Inspection Service in Detroit; New York State Police; the Canton, Ohio, Butler Village, Ohio, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, Bloomfield Township, Michigan, Marlboro Township, New Jersey and Janesville, Wisconsin police departments; and the Walworth County, Wisconsin and Clarke County, Alabama sheriff’s offices.

About the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio

Our mission is to protect and serve the citizens of the Southern District of Ohio through the ethical, vigorous and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, and in so doing to defend the national security, improve the safety and quality of life in our communities, protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States, maintain a courteous and professional working environment, and, with skill and integrity, seek to do justice in every matter

We are the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, one of 94 United States Attorney’s Offices in the country. We are a part of the Department of Justice. Our District is comprised of 48 counties in the southern half of the state.

We represent the interests of the United States, both criminal and civil, in federal court. It is our responsibility to enforce federal criminal laws. We work to prevent terrorism and promote the nation’s security. We are committed to preventing crime, enforcing federal laws, and representing the rights and interests of the American people. We strive to ensure the fair and efficient administration of justice for all Americans.

We prosecute those individuals and organizations that violate federal criminal statutes. We work with a multitude of federal, state, and local agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Park Service, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, The Ohio Highway Patrol, and multitude of local law enforcement agencies. We prosecute a wide-variety of offenses including domestic and foreign terrorism; child pornography and exploitation; civil rights violations; bank robbery and other violent crimes; firearms offenses; drug trafficking; health care fraud; immigration violations; public corruption; tax evasion; mail, bank and wire fraud; environmental offenses; and identity theft.

We also represent the United States in civil litigation, affirmative and defensive. As such, we sue individuals or entities who have violated federal civil laws. We also defend the interests of the United States when it, or one of its departments, agencies, or employees is sued, and we defend federal programs and agency actions.

We collect monies owed to the United States from forfeiture, restitution, and fines imposed as a part of the judgment in federal cases. We also pursue collection of civil debts owed to the United States, including student, small business, housing, and farm loans. Finally, we represent the interests of federal agencies in bankruptcy court.

Our district covers the Southern half of the state of Ohio.

The Southern District of Ohio includes three staffed offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton. The Columbus office is the headquarters of our District and is the largest, followed by Cincinnati then Dayton.

Date Published: Friday July 30, 2021


The United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Ohio


Man who led online car sales scam sentenced to more than 14 years in prison

Scam defrauded more than 850 victims nationwide out of at least $10.6 million

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