Posted: Monday, May 7, 2018 – 1:54 PM
A Los Angeles woman with a long criminal history of identity theft was sentenced Monday to nearly five years in federal prison for hacking hotel heiress Paris Hilton’s bank and iCloud accounts, stealing $130,000 and personal photos.
Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, 31, was also ordered to pay restitution of about $318,500 to various banks and serve three years of supervised release following her 57-month prison sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The defendant, who pleaded guilty in December to bank fraud conspiracy, “waged a targeted campaign against victim Hilton in an effort to gain access to every aspect of Hilton’s life, and in many respects succeeded,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed in Los Angeles federal court.
Hilton made a victim impact statement in court, telling the judge that she is fearful of being alone at home as a result of the online attack.
“This has impacted me in so many ways,” she said. “I am constantly looking over my shoulder and even scared to walk into my home alone, fearful that this woman or her boyfriend or other dangerous friends are inside there waiting to hurt me or steal from me.”
Bkhchadzhyan participated in a bank fraud conspiracy from at least November 2015 until her arrest in October, causing more than $550,000 in actual and attempted losses to the victim banks.
As an example, Bkhchadzhyan victimized Hilton by using computer intrusion techniques to gain access to accounts associated with the celebrity and her family and business.
In one instance, Bkhchadzhyan obtained Hilton’s business credit card and impersonated the heiress to make a reservation at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel for a lavish 2015 New Year’s Eve party that cost more than $40,000.
In early January 2016, the defendant hacked two of Hilton’s email accounts and changed the passwords so that she was locked out of them, then sent emails to Hilton’s assistant and accountant requesting that $80,000 be wired into Bkhchadzhyan’s bank account.
The same month, Bkhchadzhyan also hacked and took over the email accounts of Hilton’s father, sister and manager, and attempted to obtain the user names and passwords for all of Hilton’s online accounts.
Bkhchadzhyan also hacked Hilton’s iCloud account and obtained the socialite’s sensitive and personal information, which included nude photographs of the heiress, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The defendant’s “long criminal history is rife with theft- and fraud- related activities starting from the age of 18,” federal prosecutors wrote. “She has a history of recidivism, both with respect to the (current) offense and other offenses.”
In 2012, Bkhchadzhyan’s probation was revoked three times in connection with a felony burglary conviction she sustained for trying to buy a $8,210 purse with another person’s charge card, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“She has over and over stolen the identities of other people and been arrested in possession of credit cards and driver’s licenses in other people’s names,” according to prosecutors. “She has even bitten the finger of a police officer who was trying to prevent her from swallowing a plastic baggie.”