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Former lawyer scammed clients out of millions of dollars to fund trips to nudist resort

Former lawyer scammed clients out of millions of dollars to fund trips to nudist resort

Lori E. Deveny, 57, was sentenced to prison after ‘brazenly’ defrauding at least 135 clients out of more than $3.8 million

A former lawyer has been sentenced to prison after scamming clients out of millions of dollars to fund a lavish lifestyle that included trips to a nudist resort.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said Lori E. Deveny, 57, ‘brazenly’ defrauded at least 135 clients out of more than $3.8 million (£3.1m), with many of her victims ‘vulnerable’ to the insurance scam after sustaining injuries.

After being indicted in 2019 on 24 counts of fraud, failure to file federal income tax returns and a number of other financial and tax crimes, Deveny pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, filing a false income tax return and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

She has now been sentenced to eight years behind bars, as well as being ordered to pay more than $4.5 million (£3.6m) in restitution to her victims.

Lori E. Deveny.
Multnomah County Sheriff

Ethan Knight, Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit for the US Attorney’s Office, said: “It’s hard to overstate the extraordinary impact Ms. Deveny’s crimes had on the many innocent and vulnerable victims who trusted her.

“As a former attorney, she had a special responsibility to her clients and to the public, but she repeatedly abused this trust and prioritized her own needs. This is a just sentence for serious crimes.”

The DoJ explained how court documents showed that Deveny used ‘manipulation and deceit to systematically defraud’ the clients between April 2011 and May 2019.

To accomplish the long-running scam, she stole her clients’ identities, forged insurance checks made payable to them, deposited client funds into her personal bank accounts and continually ‘lulled clients into a false sense of hope’ that they would receive compensation for their injuries.

She was sentenced to eight years behind bars.

“Many of Deveny’s victims were particularly vulnerable to her criminal behavior after sustaining serious brain and bodily injuries and never received the insurance payouts they were owed,” the DoJ said.

She then used the money to fund everything from trips to a luxury nudist resort in California to hunting trips.

With her ill-gotten gains, the DoJ said she spent ‘more than $150,000 (£120k) on foreign and domestic airline tickets, more than $173,000 (£140k) on African safari and big game hunting trips, $35,000 (£28k) on taxidermy expenses, $125,000 (£100k) on home renovations, $195,000 (£160k) in mortgage payments, more than $220,000 (£180k) in cigars and related expenses, $58,000 (£47k) on pet boarding and veterinary costs, $41,000 (£34k) on recreational vehicle expenses, $50,000 (£41k) for a Cadillac luxury vehicle, and $60,000 (£49k) on stays at a luxury nudist resort in Palm Springs, California’.

In a statement, Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin said the ‘cruelest thing of all’ was that Deveny knowingly provided ‘false hope’.

“Having already suffered losses, Ms. Deveny’s clients deserved an attorney who represented their best interests,” he said.

“What they got instead was someone who inflicted more loss.”

Featured Image Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff/Facebook/lori.deveny

Topics: US News, Crime