Former Portland lawyer sentenced to 14 years in prison

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge on Wednesday sentenced former Portland attorney Lori Deveny to 14 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from her clients.

The state sentence comes on top of Deveny’s federal sentence of more than 8 years. The two sentences will run concurrently, meaning they’ll be served at the same time.

Prosecutors alleged Deveny stole money from her clients by forging insurance checks, stealing the funds and lying to her clients about the payouts. According to investigators, Deveny defrauded at least 135 clients out of roughly $4.5 million. She used the money to pay for her extravagant lifestyle, including big game hunting trips in Africa, a home remodel and expensive cigars, according to prosecutors.

Deveny pleaded guilty in state court to 28 counts, including aggravated theft and identity theft.

“To all the victims who came to me in physical or emotional pain, who shared their stories and their lives with me, I can only tell you how sorry I am that instead of helping you, I inflicted more pain,” Deveny said during Wednesday’s hearing.

Defense lawyer Wayne Mackeson asked for leniency by claiming Deveny was trapped in an abusive relationship.

Deveny, who surrendered her law license in Oregon during May of 2018, wore a standard jail uniform while in court.

“I want each individual to know that I did not set out to hurt them. I did not choose them to be a target, but I did fail to see them,” said Deveny. “I see them now and will always feel an obligation to them.”

State prosecutor Scott Healy said Deveny left her clients with unpaid medical bills and mortgages, lost savings and lost jobs.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that she has one ounce of remorse about what she did to these victims over the course of 18 years,” Healy told Judge Jerry Hodson.

As a result of the case, the Oregon State Bar raised its cap on how much victims of a dishonest lawyer can claim from the bar’s client security fund. Additionally, state lawmakers passed legislation that requires insurance companies to notify beneficiaries when they send settlement checks so the client will know money is available at the same time as the lawyer.

The Oregon State Bar has called the Deveny case the worst fraud by a single lawyer in state history.


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