Playing Paper Dolls

Oregon Attorney Megan Moeller pleads guilty to wire fraud

In reality, Perry specialized in ripping apart functioning families, protecting abusers, and separating children from caring parents. She did this through all possible means.

Some of her tactics were disguised as malpractice or laziness, but she was neither lazy nor inept. Perry was in fact very busy scheming, creating forged documents, conspiring with opposing counsel, manipulating court staff, and, her favorite: positioning opponents and clients alike for false arrest. She switched sides often and pushed the boundaries of how outrageous a lie she could tell and still get away with it.

Michael Bodi (1/4/2015)

The first complaint the Bar received about Megan Perry was almost a blueprint of the case for which she would be federally prosecuted five years later, notably her false claims about filing and service, and increasingly implausible stories for failing to act on her client’s behalf. Virtually the only difference was that Perry didn’t forge any documents to soothe Bodi as her excuses began to fall apart.

Paul Neuman (2/18/15)

Neuman credibly claimed that Perry had allowed her client (Neuman’s ex-wife) to contradict testimony and perjure herself during a hearing for a restraining order against him, greatly affecting his parental rights. Their divorce was very contentious.

Gavin McNett (5/4/15)

Disclosure: I’m a witness to this complaint. It credibly alleged that Perry had forged a restraining order on behalf of her client, McNett’s ex-wife. The March 2015 order was “signed” by Judge Norm Hill and entered into the docket by a court employee, Heidi Bittick, who has since been fired for dishonesty.

Jonathon Cannon (7/1/15)

Perry and her husband, partner Erik Moeller, lied about having not received important papers from a mediator, which harmed Cannon’s case. Cannon discovered their lie when he called the mediator directly—the papers had been timely sent by the mediator to the firm weeks earlier.

It is terrible advice to tell someone to stick with their lying abuser, but it is particularly awful in the context of a lawyer/client relationship.

Many of her victims stayed with Perry for far longer than their guts recommended due to the money which they had already “invested” in Perry’s legal work, and the prohibitive cost of starting over with a new attorney.

Many of Perry’s clients were referred to her through the Bar’s income-based “Modest Means” program. Remarkably, those referrals by the Bar continued even as more complaints against her arrived there.

Casey Choate (4/15/16)

Perry represented a client who was the custodian of Choate’s four children, due to Choate having a terminal illness and struggling with addiction. One of her children had also won a $1 million settlement and required a conservatorship, which is likely why Perry was involved.

Roger Lamont (10/7/16)

Perry represented Lamont in his divorce, and withheld from him some of the financial documents that his ex-wife had turned over. Further, Perry refused to return his “complete client file” after he let her go. A client file is a client’s own property.

Jeffrey Goodwin (12/13/16)

Goodwin was the opposing attorney in a custody dispute that Perry’s client largely won. However, the judge “had imposed an immediate financial obligation on Ms. Perry’s client in favor of” Goodwin’s client. Perry was directed to submit the judgment to the court within 30 days, but “months passed” without her doing so. Perry did not serve Goodwin a copy before it was signed, and it was not consistent with the oral ruling. He objected to no avail, and the judgment was never corrected.

Lori Reid (12/14/16)

Perry represented Reid in a divorce, and botched how and when alimony would be paid, specifically that the DOJ would be handling it. In fact, the DOJ “didn’t support alimony payments” in Linn County.

Ryan Klock (1/28/17)

Klock was represented by Perry in a custody dispute that was mostly settled out of court with all parties present. However, shortly thereafter, Klock received a text from his ex-wife saying that she had “won full custody and everything she [had] asked for in court.”

Elizabeth Laver-Holencik (5/12/17)

Laver-Holencik hired Perry for her divorce after Perry’s partner, Joe Elwood, apparently botched it. Perry exacerbated the situation in ways that are not easily summarized, but are collectively appalling.

When the dust on the divorce finally settled, “the judge determined that Megan could not be trusted with another [settlement] check,” since a prior check for $50,000 that Perry had handled had gone missing.

Laver-Holencik told me, “I’m glad she is being prosecuted. My divorce was horrible and Megan made it so much worse and cost me a lot of money.”

Kennya Marzano (6/16/17)

Marzano was a victim in the state’s criminal case against Perry filed in 2019. That case was dismissed because of Perry’s federal indictment, yet the custodial interference charges brought against her — related to her “work” in Marzano’s custody matter — were never added to the federal charges.

Texts exchanged between Megan Perry (left) and Kennya Marzano.

Jeffrey Hart (7/24/2017)

Perry was hired to draft and file a divorce judgment that the Harts had already amicably worked out. Remarkably, Perry drafted the document, but then failed to file it with the court.

Instead, Perry invented a fictitious case number for the matter, signed the document “/S/ Judge David Delsman,” presented it to the Harts as a “conformed” copy of their judgment, congratulated them, and sent them on their way.

The forged judgment was then filed with the agency that handles support, which “began collecting spousal and child support from [Mr. Hart’s] pay.”

But far more disturbing than that, Ms. Hart got remarried while still married to Mr. Hart, and they only discovered the forgery when he tried to stop spousal support.

Outrageously, in its own summary of the complaint, the Bar wouldn’t refer to the forgery as a forgery, and breezed past that clearest sign that it was a forgery: Perry’s personally handwritten and wholly-invented case number.

Kandee Cooper (9/1/2017)

This case is not easily summarized. Perry misrepresented her actions to her client, Cooper, who discovered it only when she started calling third parties directly, such as the IRS and district attorney. Perry may have also stolen or converted $51,000.

Kandee Cooper’s handwritten plea to the Oregon State Bar.

Michael Crocker (9/6/2017)

Perry failed to file documents regarding Crocker’s mother’s estate, but repeatedly insisted that she had. Perry may have also stolen tens of thousands of dollars from Crocker.

Tjoseph Chapman (9/25/2017)

In this case, Perry so completely misrepresented her actions to Chapman — a frequently-deployed Chief Petty Officer — that police came to his house while he was at sea, and scooped up his three children. Police showed his second wife the court order granting his ex-wife temporary custody, and threatened her with arrest.

Clinton Bateman (10/4/2017)

Perry was hired to file an adoption petition for Bateman and his step-child. Perry strung him along for a year, doing nothing on the case, before finally filing a petition. Perry told Bateman that he had been granted a judgment for custody, and a new birth certificate had been issued.

Kaylee Knapp (10/12/2017)

This was yet another case in which Perry had misrepresented to a client that she was divorced and had full custody of her child, when in fact the case had been dismissed for inaction.

Email from Knapp to Perry.

Gavin McNett (10/18/2017)

This was the second complaint filed by McNett, which reported Perry for witness- and evidence-tampering, interfering with his subpoenas, withholding discovery, and positioning him for false arrest.

McNett stated, “Because of Perry’s… misconduct and violations of Oregon law, this case’s proceedings have been subverted for nearly three years with terrible harm inflicted on my son and his family, at crushing financial expense. Megan Perry is a danger to her opponents, her clients, and the public at large.”

Christopher Knapp (10/27/2017)

Knapp was the ex-husband of Kaylee Knapp, who filed a complaint against Perry just fifteen days earlier. Mr. Knapp alleged that his ex was working in concert with Perry to deprive him of his parental rights.

Scott Stewart (11/3/2017)

This is the complaint upon which the federal charges that Perry pleaded guilty to are based. Perry jerked the Stewarts around for several months, and repeatedly claimed that she had served their opponent papers in Florida. When their opponent, Stewart’s ex-wife, claimed otherwise, Perry called the woman “crazy” and a “liar.”

The Stewart’s previously well-functioning custody situation quickly deteriorated, as Perry assiduously stirred the pot.

To sustain her lies just a bit longer and shift suspicion away from herself, Perry forged an affidavit of service and a USPS receipt — in total, three forged signatures.

It did not buy her much time. The Stewarts provided those documents to the Bar, and they were quickly shown to be fraudulent, simply by consulting a map: The process server and notary whose signatures Perry had chosen to forge were not licensed to practice in the Florida county where the ex-wife was allegedly served; and in fact, they would have had to drive over 6 hours round trip to do so, while risking their professional licenses.

Cary Bingham (11/7/2017)

Perry represented Bingham in a case in which his ex-wife refused to allow visitation with their son, despite Bingham having a court order from North Dakota that permitted it. The ex-wife was clearly determined to cut Bingham completely out of his son’s life.

Which is to say, Perry positioned her vulnerable client and his court-order-defying ex for a major confrontation which would have certainly involved police. Bingham wisely avoided it, but returned home dejected.

It is a common thread in Perry’s cases that she sided with the mother intent on cutting off the father’s rights, no matter which parent was her actual client.

Bingham told me, “I’m glad Ms. Perry is facing consequences for her actions but it will never replace the time that was lost with my son, or the permanent damage to my relationship with him. I hope she understands the destruction of family and suffering she caused, but I doubt she’s capable.”

Barbara Schneider (11/8/2017)

This complainant alleged that Perry had completely botched her divorce and repeatedly lied about it, costing her nearly everything. In her response to the Bar, Perry would not even provide a copy of their retainer agreement.

Christen Salinas (1/23/2018)

This client hired Perry for a child custody and parenting time modification, which she then badly botched. Salinas was left in a worse position than before.

Rebecca Winters (1/25/2018)

The final complaint came from attorney Winters, who was required under the Rules of Professional Conduct to report Perry’s behavior, after she was involved in a case with her.

Bob McCann and Andy Ivers (2/15/2018)

This was a warning, not a complaint, and was sent by the two Albany attorneys directly to the Bar’s Deputy General Counsel, Mark Johnson Roberts. Ivers had hired two of Perry & Moeller’s former associates who possessed “notebooks of information as well as eyewitness accounts of the unethical conduct of Ms. Perry and Mr. Moeller and the efforts that have made to hide their behavior.”

McCann and Ivers’ warning stated that, “Much of the documentation… was copied from documents which were later destroyed by Perry and Moeller.”

They referred to the information as “voluminous and damning,” and concluded, “Frankly, Ms. Perry and Mr. Moeller have engaged in some of the most reprehensible and unethical conduct I have heard of. From the local bar’s perspective nothing is coming of it. I hope the perception of the local attorneys is not correct.”

According to a source familiar with the matter, Johnson Roberts told the lawyers that their whistleblowing report was irrelevant because the Bar already had enough evidence to disbar Perry. Yet, the Bar still did not open an investigation into Erik Moeller.

Bar staff then interfered with victims’ reports to law enforcement, and retaliated against victims who had discovered each other and were comparing notes.

For good measure, the Bar didn’t issue any press release about Perry, and even delayed publishing a notice of her resignation for nearly five months. On average, notices are published after only two.

In 2018, I requested the Bar’s “complete file” on Perry, which should have included all records of their investigation and all of Perry’s responses. What I received was far less than complete: Notably, it was missing all of the exhibits that Perry and her Holland & Knight lawyers had submitted in her defense.

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