Ex-lawyer who stole over $3.4 million from clients pleads guilty

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A former Oregon personal injury attorney who stole more than $3.4 million from her clients has pleaded guilty to seven federal charges in what prosecutors have called the worst attorney fraud in state history.

Lori E. Deveny, who relinquished her license to practice law in Oregon in May 2018, pleaded guilty Monday to counts of fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, money laundering and filing a false 2012 income tax return, The Oregonian, per Reported to have sent mail /OregonLive.

Deveny stole money she held in trust for her clients and used it to pay off credit card debt and loans and support a lavish lifestyle, federal prosecutors said.

The expenses included big-game hunting trips to Africa, taxidermy costs for big-game hunting trophies, other vacations, her husband’s photography business, home remodeling and expensive cigars, according to Internal Revenue Service and FBI investigators.

Prosecutors will seek a sentence of about 10 years for Deveny, Assistant US Attorney Claire M. Fay told the court.

The money came from insurance proceeds to be paid to their customers. According to the defense agreement, the fraud occurred between April 2011 and May 2018.

The Oregon State Bar has approved $1.3 million in disbursements from its Client Security Fund in response to claims from clients who said they lost money as a result of Deveny’s dishonesty as an attorney.

She remains out of prison pending her sentencing in November. According to Fay, she will pay at least $3.4 million in compensation and forfeit $52,620. Deveny told the court she was being treated for a mental illness, but said she was not taking any medication, which affected her ability to understand the court proceedings.

Deveny had faced 24 charges in federal court. She is also being prosecuted in Multnomah County Circuit Court on 92 counts of theft, forgery and other counts.

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