The appalling crimes of former Oregon attorney Megan Perry
*** Read the latest on the criminal case against Megan Perry (Moeller), click here.
During former Albany-area attorney Megan Perry’s four short years of practice, she amassed 23 bar complaints, nearly all of which credibly alleged forgery, fraud, and various other crimes by her. Perry resigned her law license in March 2018 rather than defend her conduct. Since then, Perry — who now uses her husband and former partner Erik Moeller’s last name— has faced very few legal consequences.
Sure, Perry lost her license… but maybe the bar should be a little more selective with those to begin with. She was also arrested and prosecuted in Linn for identity theft, but she received a year of special treatment from the court and was never even required to enter a plea. The case was closed and two of the charges were transferred to federal court, but not all of them.
And that is to say nothing about all the other criminal charges Perry should face for her work as an ‘officer of the court.’
In her most appalling case, Megan Perry filed fraudulent papers which resulted in the taking and confinement of an infant. That is to say, she was involved in a scheme to kidnap a baby. That child, now seven, is still separated from his birth parents.
Kidnapping — even when done by a lawyer, and even when laundered through the court — is still kidnapping.
Here are the facts: On January 9, 2015, Megan Perry walked into the Linn County Circuit Court and filed a petition for her client Donna Dove to gain temporary guardianship of Dove’s grandson.
The problem was, the ‘consent form’ that Perry filed turned out to be fraudulent. It had the forged signature of the child’s mother, Blainey Elkins, on it. That is to say, Elkins did not consent to the guardianship. This meets the legal definition for kidnapping or custodial interference under Oregon statutes, and clearly implicates federal kidnapping law — a very serious crime with an appropriately long potential prison sentence.
In addition to the forged consent form, Perry’s petition had other problems : it falsely claimed that the child’s birth certificate had no father stated on it, and it contained various other damaging and untrue allegations about Elkins.
Despite the care that should be taken with such a sensitive matter — where a child could be separated from his parents — Perry did not submit one scrap of evidence to support her ugly claims: no birth certificate, no DHS report. Nothing.
Shockingly, just two hours after submitting this unevidenced pile of garbage to the court, and without any hearing on the matter, Judge David Delsman signed an order granting Donna Dove temporary guardianship of her grandson. A week later, it was made permanent; again without a hearing.
Read all of that again: There was no hearing, and there was no evidence to review had there been any hearing. The child has not seen his parents since then. He simply never returned from his grandma’s house in Utah.
It is unknown if it is Linn Circuit Court’s usual practice to separate infants from their parents without any hearing or evidence, or if Perry had a secret meeting with Judge Delsman and showed him her secret evidence. But given Perry’s history of identity theft and simulation of process, it is also a distinct possibility that someone at Linn courthouse entered the paperwork for Perry, and that the orders “signed” by Judge Delsman are fraudulent.
Any one of those scenarios is objectively alarming, and every one of those should concern law enforcement and anyone who depends on the court to handle such serious matters with close attention.
It is most distressing, though, for the seven-year-old boy and the parents he doesn’t know at all.
In 2015, Blainey Elkins tried desperately to report that her signature had been forged and that her child had been kidnapped. She went to the police, the county sheriff, and Legal Aid in Albany. Nobody would listen to her story that an attorney — of all people — had forged her signature.
Elkins said, “I’ve tried for seven years. I begged and pleaded for help for seven years and everybody just laughed in my face. This whole time I did nothing but tell the truth. No one believed me about Megan Perry.”
She believes that her inability to access the courts and justice were because of money. “I got laughed in my face because I was low income, no one believed me. My mother has much more money than I did. Just because I don’t have a fancy house or car and a large bank account doesn’t make me a bad person or a liar or a bad parent.”
Elkins became increasingly exhausted from trying to get help. It was a full-time job she had to do on top of her other jobs, in addition to being a mom to her other children.
She learned through various sources that her mother, Donna Dove, moved the baby around from Utah to Idaho before dumping him on Elkin’s sister, Raeni Coelton-Ruske, in California.
The Linn court was not notified of any of these moves. There are no notices of any home visits or welfare checks in the record, either. The Linn court just stopped attending to the case altogether.
When Perry lost her license in 2018, the local paper published a piece about it. Elkins read it and thought that some of Perry’s other cases sounded a lot like what had happened to her. “Nobody believed me until Perry got disbarred,” she said, adding, “It was the first time anyone listened to me.”
Around the time that the news about Perry came out, Elkin’s sister’s family, including her son, packed up and moved from California to Utah, to a house next door to Dove— an apparent attempt to give the mess a veneer of legitimacy.
Reviewing the appalling case file in the guardianship, it is easy to believe Elkins’ story, even if Perry had not become so publicly disgraced.
Elkin’s claims are remarkably similar to the easily proven misconduct described in complaint after complaint against Perry: forged judgments, fraudulent notarizations, fake parenting reports — victim after victim had been cut off from their kids or their rights because of Perry’s “work.” One victim even got remarried before she was divorced, because Perry gave her fake court papers: a judgment with Judge Desman’s signature on it and a made up case number.
Fraudulent paperwork that would become the basis for the federal criminal case against Perry included a phony proof of service supposedly executed in Florida. There, Perry forged a process server’s and a notary’s signature, both of whom worked about 400 miles away from the location where Perry claimed they had served papers. Apparently, she was too lazy (or too reckless) to look at a map.
Almost as much as custodial interference, bad notarizations are Perry’s hallmark, and the two in Elkin’s case certainly look suspicious. One has white-out and misaligned edges, like it’s been taped onto the main document, crookedly — literally and figuratively. Also, the notarization was allegedly made in Utah, and Utah is typed in one place but handwritten in another, with Oregon crossed out. I was unable to confirm its authenticity.
In the second notarization, which looks equally shoddy, the notary who attested to Elkin’s signature, Linda Imperio, would not respond to my questions about the case. If she is a victim of identity theft by Perry, she is apparently not concerned by it. The alternative is that Imperio participated in a kidnapping scheme.
Even more important than the bad notarizations is the birth certificate. I have seen it and can positively attest to it: The father’s name is stated there.
As an interesting aside, in 2013, before she was a licensed attorney, Perry successfully changed her own daughter’s last name from M. Tolisano to M. Perry, based upon her claim that she was the only parent listed upon the birth certificate. Although a copy of that document was filed with the court, it was a photocopy which had her handwriting on it. Is it another of Perry’s forgeries? She also made claims about the “putative father” that are easily refuted by looking at her ex’s public Facebook photos and posts from that time period.
All of that is to say that Megan Perry is a deeply dishonest person. If there is a bottom to the barrel, I have not found it yet.
When someone like Megan Perry happens — who receives dozens of complaints in a short time, and who throws away her law license to avoid facing an investigation — you have to wonder if that person has ever done a single honest thing in their entire career… or if their entire career constitutes a single, complex criminal act. A slow-motion smash and grab.
Contemplating this prospect, it is curious that Oregon’s Department of Justice or Judicial Department has not undertaken a rudimentary audit of every case that Perry ever touched.
Given their refusal to do that, the literal very least that Oregon officials could do is presume that every case Megan Perry touched is a toxic waste dump of fraud which requires at least some remediation.
Instead, we see again and again that Oregon officials refuse to give Perry’s victims consideration of any kind — not even the victims individually named on her own resignation papers! In some instances, those victims are even experiencing retaliation for continuing to speak up about Perry’s fraud.
The only reason — and it’s not a good one — that Oregon officials would continue to neglect or further harm Perry’s victims is if Oregon does not want to admit that it has a problem with public corruption, and that the problem has infected its circuit and appellate courts. Those are major problems.
Elkin’s case certainly smells of public corruption: Either Linn County Circuit Court’s usually separates infants from their parents without any hearing or review of evidence; or Linn holds secret meetings and reviews secret evidence; or there is staff at that court who will accept money from a crooked attorney to create a case, enter forged garbage papers into it, and get a judge’s “signature” on it. Only one of those scenarios can be true, and all of them are bad.
Until Oregon and Linn sort out and tackle their significant problems, Blainey Elkin’s is fortunate that she finally found someone to help her, who recently filed paperwork to end the custodianship.
Personally, I don’t believe that Elkins should have to plead with a judge to get her child back, when she and her son are the victims of a very serious crime. Just because an attorney was the offender — who used forged court documents instead of duct tape and a getaway car — does not make it any less serious.
Arguably, it makes it more so.
Megan Perry and Donna Dove would not respond to my requests for comment. It is unknown if Dove knew in 2015 that Elkin’s signature was forged, or if she learned of it later.