Setting Her Sights
A horrific new low in the case of Oregon attorney Lori Deveny
*** Read the latest on the criminal case against Lori Deveny, click here.
Over the last few years, much has been learned about the alleged crimes of disgraced former Oregon attorney Lori Deveny, and the millions of dollars of insurance money stolen from her clients through forgery and fraud.
The best source of information about her known victims, though, is not from the state or federal criminal cases against her — both have stalled since they were brought in May 2019. The clearest picture of these people is instead taken from the records of Deveny’s former licensor, the Oregon State Bar.¹ I have read every document that the bar has published about her, and all the others I’ve extracted from them through records requests or in court.²
Each of her victim’s stories is terrible to absorb, because her targets were chosen carefully — many suffered head injuries that left them with lasting cognitive problems. They were an ideal pool of people from whom to steal settlement money, and she strung some along for more than a decade.
But last November, the bar released something that left even me stunned.
It established a disturbing new low for Deveny, and revealed that she had been up to her special kind of “work” for far longer than previously acknowledged.
The document the bar published was an investigation report regarding a claim made by Jeffrey Furches, a Marine Corps veteran and former client of Deveny’s. The claim was made to a special bar fund that helps to repay victims of theft or loss caused by dishonest attorneys.
Furches was permanently disabled due to a serious assault that occurred as he worked as a security guard. He was 29 years old at the time of the attack, on July 18, 1998, and has now lived nearly half his life with significant difficulties, including memory loss and cognitive dysfunction.
He hired Deveny to represent him for his worker compensation case. She settled it in 2002 for $1.35 million. Minus her fees of $145,000, Furches was left with around $1.2 million.
What happened next was a complex scheme through which Deveny “obtained full control” of Furches’ money by setting herself up as a trustee and using at least $900,000 of it to purchase an annuity. According to the bar’s investigator, Deveny started dipping into his money as early as 2003.
Yet, according to the indictment filed in her federal criminal case three years ago, Deveny’s “scheme to defraud” began around “April 2011.“
That means that Lori Deveny’s “work” with vulnerable clients such as Jeffrey Furches started nearly a decade earlier than previously recognized.
The details of how Deveny stole Furches’ money are incomplete and confusing, but are outlined in the bar’s report. More would surely be known if Deveny had not been enabled — by the bar and prosecutors — to withhold an accounting of Furches’ settlement money.³
Despite that, it is agreed that Deveny took at least $554,000 of Furches’ funds. That places Furches at the very top of the list of currently known Deveny victims, in terms of sheer dollar amount.
However, simple theft — even of a half million dollars or more — is not what makes Furches’ case so horrific. It’s the details of Deveny’s ongoing mistreatment of the disabled veteran, as she took his money while using him as her personal servant.
Many would find Deveny personally abhorrent due to the dozens, if not hundreds of big game trophies she brought home from her various safaris. The internet is full of images of Deveny grinning over some dead animal.
But the bar’s investigation reports paint an even more disturbing professional portrait of Deveny, standing over her prey, smiling.
From the interview that the investigator had with Furches, we learn that he recalls hiring Deveny to handle his worker’s compensation claim, but she never disclosed the details of the 2002 settlement. “Deveny told him that he should not worry about the terms.”
In the twenty years that followed, Furches said that Deveny always seemed to be in a rush. She would often take phone calls while meeting with him, insisting that other clients’ matters were more pressing than his. She did not give him time to read the documents she asked him to sign, telling Furches that “he had had a brain injury and would not understand.” Furches “cannot recall what documents he may have signed,” and “does not know what an annuity is.”
Furches repeatedly asked for the “help of relatives in dealing with his affairs,” but “Deveny refused to discuss matters with them,” particularly Furches’ mother, “because Deveny did not get along with her.”
During this time, Deveny received all of Furches’ incoming money and benefits. She would get Furches to come to her office every month to pick up a check for his “monthly allowance,” but it “was never in any great amount.” Deveny would argue with him over his request for “$20 for a gift for one of his children.” Furches did “work at Deveny’s office and at her residence,” and “appears to have received no financial recompense for this work.”
Deveny paid Furches’ expenses directly. She had sole control of his money coming in and going out.
Then, in 2018, the house of cards that Deveny had carefully constructed quickly and dramatically fell, and the details of her nauseating life choices began to trickle out.
Deveny started to fall behind paying Furches’ bills, and she racked up late charges on accounts under his name. His cable was cut off, and he almost had his electricity shut off, too, but “neighbors paid off his electric bill for him.” Deveny also didn’t pay for Furches’ “many transports by ambulance to hospitals.”
In April 2018, Furches “helped out Deveny after the death of her husband,” Robert, again without compensation. And then there is this:
“One time Deveny asked [Furches] to take rolls of coins to the bank to deposit to her account. Deveny then said he could keep the rolled coins as his monthly allowance. On another occasion, Deveny gave him a case of canned beans as compensation.”
Mr. Furches currently survives solely on $2,000 a month from Social Security and Veteran’s benefits. People in the apartment building where he lives sometimes “give him food and leftovers.” He relies on public transportation, and has no car. He “has no large sums of money hidden away, nor so far as he knows, has he ever had any.” The investigator continued:
“On the date of my interview with him, October 29, 2021, [Furches] was waiting for his next month’s benefits. [Furches] reported that his sole financial assets of that date were less than $2 in his bank account and less than $2 in cash and change in his possession.”
His money is all gone. The interviewer reported that he “could detect no sense of bitterness, hostility, or rancor [by Furches] towards Ms. Deveny.”
It was only after her arrest by the FBI on May 13, 2019 that Furches “learned from others that Deveny mishandled his funds.” And judging from the documents produced by the bar and those filed in the federal criminal case, he may have even been nearby when she was arrested.
Ten days after that arrest, the state indicted Deveny on 92 counts of identity theft, theft, forgery, and criminal mistreatment. Yet Jeffrey Furches was not named as a victim in that indictment , which the state had been working on for months and had hastily filed only after the federal case was commenced.
Furches was, however, individually named in the Multnomah court order establishing the terms of her release: Deveny was ordered to have “no contact with Jeff Furches,” and also to “obey all laws.”
To really add some force to those release terms, the judge ordered Deveny to pay $0 in bail — despite guidelines that indicated she should pay $5,000 for each of the 92 charges.
That is $460,000 that Deveny was not required to pay, for some reason.
And for those unfamiliar with Oregon’s bail system, half a million dollars represents just a 10% security deposit on the full bail amount of $4.6 million.
It took the entire year after Deveny’s arrest for Furches to get help to file a financial claim with the bar. It took another year after that for the bar to investigate the claim. The foot-dragging was likely part of the bar’s ongoing efforts to protect Deveny from all consequences for her conduct.
It may be months before the public hears if Furches’ claim was approved for payment, but the most that he can recover is $100,000. And that will be paid for by fees collected from every one of Deveny’s 16,000 mostly non-crooked former colleagues and Oregon State Bar licensees.
In the meantime, as Deveny has been delaying her state and federal criminal trials by informing on yet-unknown bad actors, an accurate way for the public and her former colleagues to imagine Lori Deveny is not as the brave big game hunter she liked to portray herself as, but as a twisted individual who set her sights on fish in a barrel.⁴
¹ Every month or so the bar publishes their Board of Governors meeting agenda, and often that agenda includes a Client Security Fund (CSF) summary of a Deveny victim. I have been mining the data in those agendas so effectively that the bar stopped publishing their master CSF spreadsheet, a move away from the transparency they like to bray about.
² See Multnomah case no. 18CV48680, the custodianship that the bar opened to take over Deveny’s practice (wrongly) under ORS 9.715.
³ The bar has thus far failed to petition for Deveny’s contempt of the Supreme Court order which ordered her resignation, for her refusal to comply with the terms of that resignation (surrendering her client files and property to her designee, attorney Jodie Phillips Polich). The bar has also failed to petition for her contempt of the Multnomah court order in the custodianship case, for her refusal to surrender all of her client files and property to the bar. State and federal prosecutors have also failed to enforce her release agreement that Deveny is violating, for her refusal to surrender all of her client files and property to the bar.
Which is to say that literally no one seems capable or willing to hold Deveny accountable for the documents she’s tactically withholding. Too bad nobody collected any bail from her. In fact, in the federal case, Deveny was recently released from pre-trial supervision.
⁴ Why on earth would the Oregon State Bar turn itself inside-out for this person? You can have three guesses, and they should all be ‘public corruption’ in the courts or at the bar or with law enforcement . Or this hot mess. Or this related hot mess.