Lawyer who stole from clients to go on African hunting trips, nudist resort vacations sentenced
01/12/2023 2:33 pm PST
PORTLAND, Ore. (TCD) -- A 57-year-old former injury attorney was recently sentenced to over eight years in prison for stealing millions from clients to fund a "lavish lifestyle."
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, from April 2011 until May 2019, Lori Deveny used "manipulation and deceit to systematically defraud at least 135 clients out of more than $3.8 million in insurance proceeds she held in trust on their behalf."
Many of Deveny’s clients suffered serious brain and bodily injuries and were in a vulnerable position, the Attorney’s Office said.
Deveny reportedly stole her clients’ identities to do this. She also forged insurance checks meant for them, put client funds into her bank accounts, and falsely gave her clients a sense of hope that they would receive the insurance payouts they were owed, the Attorney’s Office said.
Besides clients, the Oregon State Bar Client Security Fund, Wells Fargo Bank, and the IRS also reportedly lost money due to Deveny’s actions.
The Attorney’s Office said, "The CSF made partial restitution payments to some of Deveny’s clients, resulting in a loss of more than $1.2 million."
The loss was one of the largest in the Oregon State Bar’s history, and as a result, they had to raise dues for their members.
According to the Attorney’s Office, Deveny failed to report the money she stole from clients to the IRS, and she stole and forged a check, causing the IRS to lose more than $621,000. As a result, Wells Fargo also reportedly lost more than $52,000.
In total, victims lost more than $4.5 million due to Deveny’s scheme.
Deveny used the money to "pay more than $150,000 on foreign and domestic airline tickets, more than $173,000 on African safari and big game hunting trips, $35,000 on taxidermy expenses, $125,000 on home renovations, $195,000 in mortgage payments, more than $220,000 in cigars and related expenses, $58,000 on pet boarding and veterinary costs, $41,000 on recreational vehicle expenses, $50,000 for a Cadillac luxury vehicle, and $60,000 on stays at a luxury nudist resort in Palm Springs, California," the Attorney’s Office said.
Deveny was reportedly indicted by a federal grand jury on May 7, 2019, for mail, bank, and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and filing a false tax return. She pleaded guilty to one count each of mail, wire, and bank fraud, money laundering, and filing a false tax return, and two counts of aggravated identity theft nearly three years later, on June 27, 2022.
According to the Attorney’s Office, on Jan. 9, Deveny was sentenced to 101 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. She will also have to pay more than $4.5 million in restitution.
Ethan Knight, chief of the Economic Crimes Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said, "It’s hard to overstate the extraordinary impact Ms. Deveny’s crimes had on the many innocent and vulnerable victims who trusted her. As a former attorney, she had a special responsibility to her clients and to the public, but she repeatedly abused this trust and prioritized her own needs. This is a just sentence for serious crimes."
Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin, IRS Criminal Investigation for the Seattle Field Office added, "The cruelest thing of all is knowingly providing false hope."
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