A former Oregon lawyer was sentenced to federal prison on Monday for defrauding at least 135 clients out of $3.8 million in insurance proceeds, according to the Department of Justice, using the ill-gotten gains to “bankroll a lavish lifestyle.”
Lori E. Deveny, 57, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison and three years supervised release after pleading guilty to mail, bank and wire fraud; aggravated identity theft; money laundering; and filing a false tax return. She was also ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution to her defrauded clients, Wells Fargo Bank, the Oregon State Bar and to the International Revenue Service for unreported income.
“If I could go back, I would choose a different path,” said Deveny at the Monday hearing, according to NBC Portland affiliate KGW8.
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Between 2011 and 2019, Deveny reportedly stole money from insurance proceeds she held for her clients in private trusts. By stealing her clients’ identities and forging their signatures, she was able to transfer money from their trusts into her personal bank accounts. She would then lull those clients into a false sense of security, telling them that their insurance payouts would show up in their bank accounts eventually, court documents said.
The DOJ noted that many of her victims had sustained serious brain and bodily injuries in accidents, the office wrote in their press release, making them especially vulnerable to her scheme.
“The cruelest thing of all is knowingly providing false hope,” said Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin, IRS Criminal Investigation, Seattle Field Office.
“Having already suffered losses, Ms. Deveny’s clients deserved an attorney who represented their best interests. What they got instead was someone who inflicted more loss.”