Ex-Portland lawyer sentenced to more than 8 years in prison for stealing more than $3.8 million in clients’ money
Former personal injury lawyer Lori E. Deveny, who cheated more than 135 clients out of more than $3.8 million, was sentenced Monday to nearly 8 ½ years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman called Deveny’s fraud more “calculating and predatory than desperate,” though he said he believed part of what contributed to Deveny’s downfall was the emotional and physical abuse she endured from her late husband, who took his own life in 2018.
Deveny’s defense lawyer pointed to her terrible marriage to a controlling husband who was 16 years older and convinced her to do things she never would have done before.
But the judge said that still doesn’t explain why Deveny crossed the “huge line” instilled in all trial lawyers from the time they’re sworn in: Stealing from clients will get you disbarred, and you’ll wind up in jail.
In addition to sentencing Deveny, 57, to eight years and five months in prison, Mosman ordered her to pay $4.6 million in restitution in what the state bar has called the worst fraud by a single lawyer in Oregon’s history.
Deveny intends to forfeit her home, her lawyer said.
The sentence came after the judge heard testimony from five of Deveny’s victims, many of whom said the lawyer betrayed their trust when they were struggling to heal from serious injuries.
Gabriella Davidson said she was 18 and relied on a promised settlement from a car accident case to help pay college tuition, but the payment never materialized.
Aubrey Hunter, who was in a head-on car crash, said he had to dip into his retirement funds after losing his job, while Deveny kept stringing him along with all kinds of excuses why his settlement wasn’t forthcoming.
“She used me,” said Nancy Freyer , who came to court on