Indefensible

This morning, in US District Court in Portland, disgraced former attorney Lori Deveny finally pleaded guilty to seven charges of mail, wire, and bank fraud; aggravated identity theft; filing a false tax return; and engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived property. Seventeen other charges will be dropped, indicating that Deveny likely supplied information related to a larger scheme in which she was involved.

This came after an unexpected delay last week in which her scheduled plea change hearing was held instead as a status conference. It is unclear if Deveny appeared at that conference. This latest delay came on top of the eight times (over three years) that Deveny’s public defender moved to postpone her trial.

Deveny, the former president of the influential Oregon Women Lawyers specialty bar association, preyed upon her vulnerable personal injury clients, some of whom suffered cognitive impairment, and all of whom were tricked into believing that years or even decades were normal amounts of time for an attorney to settle a personal injury claim. Deveny stole at least $3.5 million from her clients and others, through forgery, fraud, and identity theft.

The indictment filed against Deveny in May 2019 states that her “scheme to defraud” those victims began in “at least as early as” April 2011. It is now known that her scheme actually began more than a decade earlier.

The trial in the state’s case against Deveny is set for November 1, 2022, and her sentencing in the federal case is now scheduled for November 23, 2022.

Deveny, whose release conditions were lifted in September 2021, remains free on her own recognizance until sentencing, and was never even required to pay bail in either the federal or state criminal case.

Updates on this story and others when more information becomes available.

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