Prison Sentence Imposed on $15.5 Million Dollar Psychic Swindler
PORTLAND, Ore. – U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones today sentenced Rachel Lee, 44 of Canby, Oregon, to 100 months in prison for her lead role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and her failure to file personal income taxes. Judge Jones also ordered Lee to pay $15,490,978.65 in restitution to the victim. In addition to the prison sentence, she must serve three years of post-prison supervised release.
“Fueled by greed and a complicated web of deceit, Rachel Lee gained control of her victim, liquidated his fortune, and left him nearly penniless,” said United States Attorney Amanda Marshall. “Due to the combined efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement, the victim is now safe and financially stable. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to hold self-serving crooks accountable, protect victims, and seek full restitution.”
According to documents filed with the court, the victim met Lee in 2004 when he visited her Psychic Shop in Bend, Oregon. Between 2004 and 2006, Lee fostered a friendship with the victim for the purpose of extracting money from him and falsely claimed that she provided care for her dying husband. She also falsely claimed that she assisted with bookkeeping for her husband’s business. As a result of these lies and the trust she established with the victim, Lee assumed the role as a paid caregiver to the victim’s elderly father by 2007. Trusting her to act in his best interests, the victim turned over all personal and business account control to Lee. While controlling the victim’s finances, Lee and her family lived in a million-dollar home in the Portland West Hills purchased with the victim’s money.
As part of the fraud scheme, Rachel Lee recruited members of her family to play key roles in carrying out the deception. She and her daughter, Porsha Lee, created a fake persona named Mary Marks and introduced this character to the victim. This character wore a blond wig, glasses, a hat, and sported a British accent. Porsha Lee, as Mary Marks, met the victim and used information her mother provided her to connect with him. She claimed to be a bookkeeper, and soon after began assisting Rachel Lee with the management of the victim’s accounts.
By 2011 the victim believed he and Mary Marks had married and had a child. The child presented to the victim as his son is actually one of Rachel Lee’s grandchildren. Digital images reveal years of holidays, birthdays and events with the victim, Rachel Lee, Porsha Lee as Marks, and their purported child.
Between 2007 and 2011, Rachel Lee directed the victim to incrementally liquidate investment accounts totaling approximately $3.8 million dollars. After depleting the victim’s investment accounts, Rachel Lee convinced the victim he owed substantial taxes and needed to sell his family’s tree farm. At Lee’s direction, the tree farm properties were sold for approximately $12.3 million dollars.
Rachel Lee and her family spent the victim’s fortune on a luxury lifestyle. Lee directed funds for high-roller trips to Las Vegas, trips to California, and a first class trip to Europe. She also spent her ill-gotten gains on luxury clothing and jewelry, including a $64,000 Rolex watch. While selling off the victim’s property, Rachel Lee and her co-defendant, Blancey Lee, purchased a Ferrari and a Bentley on a single day. Finally, between 2010 and 2013, Lee and her co-defendants used the victim’s money to purchase at least 10 properties at a cost of approximately $3.3 million dollars. She and her family used three of the properties – in Bend, Canby, and Scappoose – as Psychic Shops.
By the time of Rachel Lee’s arrest in May 2014, the victim held less than $250,000 in assets under his control. As a result of the investigation, the 10 properties purchased with the victim’s money will be sold for the victim’s benefit. Internal Revenue Service criminal agents seized approximately $1.9 million in cash from bank accounts in the name of Rachel Lee, as well as the Ferrari, the Bentley, and other items. All federally seized assets will be returned to the victim after all defendants are sentenced. Co-defendants Porsha Lee and Blancey Lee are scheduled for sentencing in April.
“This is a heartbreaking crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Teri Alexander of IRS Criminal Investigation. “The level of deceit that Rachel Lee and her family resorted to is almost unconscionable. I am proud our agents could work alongside our law enforcement partners to dismantle this scam.”
“This investigation is an example of outstanding achievement in respect to the investigative efforts by the Canby Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Internal Revenue Service,” said Canby Police Chief Bret Smith. “This was a complicated investigation requiring expertise and patience from everyone involved in order to bring it to a successful resolution.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations and the Canby Police Department, with assistance from the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office; Portland Police Bureau; and the Oregon Department of Justice. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Donna Maddux and AnneMarie Sgarlata.