Dallas Woman Sentenced to 78 Months in Federal Prison and Ordered to Pay Approximately $3.43 Million in Restitution for Embezzling from Women’s Southwest Federal Credit Union
Theresa Portillo was Chief Executive Officer at the Now-Defunct WSFCU
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 10, 2013|
DALLAS—Theresa Portillo, 44, of Dallas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn to 78 months (six and one-half years) in federal prison and ordered to pay $3,431,000 in restitution, following her guilty plea in January 2013 to a felony information charging one count of embezzlement of funds from a credit union. Portillo voluntarily agreed to forfeit nine parcels of real estate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and personal property, including diamond jewelry and four luxury watches. Judge Lynn ordered that Portillo surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on July 16, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
At this morning’s sentencing hearing, the former chairman of the Women’s Southwest Federal Credit Union (WSFCU) testified that Portillo’s embezzlement scheme caused the credit union to become insolvent and bankrupt. She further explained that the unique mission of the WSFCU was to provide financial assistance to low income women, and, that as a result of the scheme, the credit union failed and is no longer available to help poor women in need of financial aid.
According to documents filed in the case, from 2001 to October 2012, while employed at the WSFCU, including the time she served as its chief executive officer, Portillo used deception to fraudulently obtain at least $3,421,000 from 18 different financial institutions in connection with her sale of several certificates of deposits (CDs). She used online services to contact several financial institutions interested in purchasing CD accounts at the credit union.
When a financial institution was willing to purchase a CD, Portillo gave the financial institution wiring instructions to send the purchase funds to a JP Morgan Chase account in the name of the credit union. Portillo used this Chase account to conceal the embezzlement because she knew that credit union officials thought the account was inactive; the account was not recorded on the credit union’s general ledger; and she had sole control of the account. Portillo also concealed her theft of stolen credit union funds by opening a separate credit union account using a false and fictitious name. Portillo avoided detection of the scheme by writing checks using this fictitious name to disburse stolen credit union funds.
After the financial institutions wired funds into the Chase account, Portillo fraudulently disbursed and used these embezzled and stolen credit union funds to purchase motor vehicles; real property; and jewelry for her personal use, as well as for family and friends. She also used embezzled funds to pay credit card bills; fund many vacations throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Europe; pay family medical expenses; and remodel houses.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis prosecuted.