Portland, Oregon -- A woman accused of carrying out a complex scheme over the course of a decade to scam a Gaston tree farmer out of millions of dollars pleaded guilty in court.
Rachel Lee, 43, of Canby, pleaded guilty in federal court this week to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and failure to file personal income taxes.
The woman, who previously worked as a psychic in Bend, Canby, Portland and St. Helens, first met the victim in 2004.
Court documents state over the next few years, she conspired to gain his trust and eventually sold his property and stole his money.
The man lived with his father on their Gaston tree farm. After the elder man suffered a stroke, Lee became their full-time homecare worker, a federal indictment stated.
Investigators said she took over administrative control of the tree farm business in 2006, received access to family bank accounts and a debit card and opened joint checking accounts with the victim by falsely representing that she was his fiancee.
Court documents said her daughter then became involved in 2009, disguising herself as an illegal immigrant from England named “Mary Marks” who needed to marry the victim to remain in the U.S. Investigators said Porsha Lee would wear heavy makeup, a blond wig, glasses, a hat and use a British accent.
Though not legally married, court documents state she convinced the victim she had given birth to his son by using a child that belonged to another family member.
When the victim’s father died in 2011, court documents said he had become fully dependent on Rachel and Porsha Lee for all financial decisions and agreed to sell the tree farm after they told him he needed money to pay for inheritance tax assessments.
In all, the U.S. Department of Justice said the victim was scammed out of $16 million. That money was used by the Lees to pay for high-end clothes, luxurious trips and expensive cars including a 2012 Bentley and a 2012 Ferrari.
After pleading guilty, Rachel Lee will be sentenced on Jan. 20, 2015. By the terms of her plea agreement, she will receive between seven and nine years in prison. She also must pay full restitution to the victim.
Seized assets that will be used to offset restitution include $1.9 million in cash, multiple vehicles and ten parcels of property, according to the Department of Justice.
Court documents state Rachel Lee’s plea agreement is contingent on Porsha Lee accepting a separate deal. Details of Porsha Lee’s agreement are not yet available.
To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.