Lori Deveny Sentenced
Oregon attorney must serve more than eight years and pay over $4.5 million in restitution
Disgraced Portland attorney Lori Deveny was sentenced today in federal court, for multiple counts of fraud, theft, identity theft, and tax evasion.
In its blistering memorandum, the government asked for 111 months for the former bar darling and past-president of the influential Oregon Women Lawyers. The prosecution called Deveny’s conduct “egregious and reprehensible,” while lavishly outlining her scheme to defraud at least 130 of her vulnerable personal injury clients.
Deveny’s public defense attorney pushed back and asked instead for just 60 months for his client, portraying her as a victim of abuse by her deceased husband, Robert Deveny, alleging that it was his idea to turn Lori’s attorney trust account into their private ATM. Robert allegedly did this through psychological manipulation and sexual pain and injury.
According to her sentencing memorandum, Deveny “was able to recognize that much of their relationship was rape.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire Faye stated, “She seems to lay most of the blame on her husband,” and later pointed out that Deveny’s fraud and theft continued even after Robert’s death. “She was relentless… there was no one who suffered any injury that she basically didn’t prey on,” Fay said.
Senior United States District Judge Michael W. Mosman agreed, pointing out that while an abusive marriage “is a very good explanation for many things that went wrong in your life, it’s not a very good explanation for defrauding these folks.” The judge continued, “Your behavior with these folks was more predatory than desperate.”
In explaining his reasoning behind his sentence, the judge referred to the “huge line” that Robert had allegedly pushed his attorney wife to cross: stealing from clients. “He was able to get you to defraud people, but he couldn’t have persuaded you to murder somebody,” the judge opined, to illustrate his belief that Deveny was able to draw a line.
Deveny read a statement, emotionally, and expressed regret and her “deepest apologies.” She stated her desire to move forward and have a positive impact with the rest of her life, and mentioned that a handful of former clients had reached out to offer compassion.
Five of her victims appeared at the hearing and read gut-wrenching statements of their own, including one who said that she contemplated suicide over Deveny’s abuse. “There is nothing, nothing that anyone can say to me to justify what she has put me through. But there is light. Only now can I begin to fully forgive and move beyond this. May God have mercy on Ms. Deveny.”
Another client who knew Deveny for thirty years chastised her, “How could you literally just look at me and smile? Seriously!” He continued, “I just don’t know how you live with yourself.”
The government included as an exhibit appalling texts exchanged between Deveny and one of her desperate victims.
In addition to her prison sentence, Deveny must pay back over $4.5 million to her victims, the IRS, Wells Fargo, and the Oregon State Bar. Deveny is due to turn herself in on January 17, in advance of her sentencing in the state criminal case against her.
A few important asides and other thoughts:
It is awfully convenient to blame all your problems on a dead person, who was last seen alive as your world was beginning to publicly crumble, and who allegedly killed himself in your presence on the very day he was set to send one of his daughters $75,000 to buy a house.
A whole lot of material was filed under seal in this criminal case, so we cannot truly judge the value or authenticity of the evidence that Lori — a serial fraudster, forger, and identity thief — tendered to the court to support her claims of abuse.
There is also an unexplained discrepancy between the Bar’s claims for restitution filed in this case and those supported by the Bar’s own records. I will write more about this soon, but long story short, the Bar’s paperwork here lists 43 CSF claims, and according to the spreadsheet I keep (drawn from the Bar’s records) the number is actually 56. And the Bar is not super trustworthy on the subject of Lori Deveny’s money.
Neither is Oregon Women Lawyers.
Lastly, the government used one of my screenshots in their sentencing memorandum. Glad they’re reading my work, and great job on this case!