U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Medford Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison Under Armed Career Criminal Act - 05/25/22

MEDFORD, Ore.—On May 24, 2022, a Medford man with a long criminal history, including multiple convictions for strangulation and assault, was sentenced to federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

James Calvin Patterson, 46, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and five years’ supervised release. Patterson’s sentence will run concurrently to a 45-month sentence recently imposed for a drug conviction in Jackson County Circuit Court.

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of March 30, 2019, two officers from the Medford Police Department observed a white compact car stopping in the middle of the road to pick up a passenger. Suspecting possible drug activity, the officers initiated a traffic stop. As one officer approached the vehicle, the front passenger, Patterson, began moving his hands around and near his midsection and waistband. Concerned Patterson was armed, the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle. Patterson initially did not move, but then quickly reached toward his waist band. Eventually Patterson excited the vehicle and, after initially complying with some of the officer’s commands, attempted to flee on foot.

Before long, the officer regained control of Patterson and forced him to the ground. As the officer tried to handcuff him, Patterson continued reaching for this waistband. After a struggle, officers successfully handcuffed Patterson. When they stood him up, a loaded pistol fell from his waistband.

Shortly after his arrest, Patterson made multiple recorded jail phone calls on which he admitted to possessing the firearm, acknowledged he was facing 15 years in prison, and stating he would have shot the officer if he had the chance.

On May 16, 2019, Patterson was charged by criminal complaint with illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Later, on June 5, 2019, a federal grand jury in Medford indicted Patterson on the same charge. On December 9, 2021, he pleaded guilty.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the Medford Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marco A. Boccato of the District of Oregon.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Southwest Washington Man Indicted for Overdose Death of Portland Teen - 05/24/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A federal grand jury in Portland has returned a superseding indictment charging a Vancouver, Washington man for his role in a fentanyl distribution scheme that led to the overdose death of a Portland teenager.

Manuel Antonio Souza Espinoza, 24, has been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, resulting in death; possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“Our community is flooded with counterfeit prescription pills that can take an innocent victim’s life in the blink of an eye. Sadly, taking a pill to get high does not have the same stigma or barrier to entry for many unwitting victims, leading to tragic results,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We urge everyone, regardless of age, to talk with their friends and loved ones about the risks of taking pills not prescribed to them by a medical professional. Please help to protect those closest to you while we in law enforcement continue to battle this urgent public health and safety crisis.” 

“HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, pursue those fueling the opioid epidemic in this region which is claiming the lives of so many young victims,” said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in the Pacific Northwest. “This heartbreaking story is a constant reminder to the public that the only safe medications are ones prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.”

“All overdose cases are tragic, but this one involving a person so young was heartbreaking, and our sympathies are extended to his loved ones,” said Chief Chuck Lovell. “I’m grateful for the ongoing and important work of the members of PPB’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit, investigative assistance from the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force, and our federal partners. Any time an arrest like this is made, our city gets a little bit safer. However, addressing this issue is going to take more than law enforcement.  We need the community to recognize this problem and help us promote awareness that these fentanyl pills and powder are lethal and are a significant threat to our community.”

According to court documents, the investigation that ultimately led to Espinoza’s arrest began after the tragic overdose death of a Portland teenager who, in March 2022, ingested a counterfeit “M30” Oxycodone pill manufactured with fentanyl. The investigation revealed that Espinoza—a known, high-volume Portland area drug dealer—was the third-level supplier of the counterfeit pills. On March 31, 2022, using a confidential informant, investigators arranged a controlled purchase of 1,000 pills from Espinoza. When Espinoza arrived at the agreed upon location, he was immediately arrested. Investigators located the 1,000 pills in his vehicle along with a loaded .40 caliber handgun with extended magazine.

On March 31, 2022, Espinoza was charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Later, on April 21, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted him on the same charges.

Espinoza made his initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo. He was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

If convicted, Espinoza faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Asphaug, Special Agent in Charge Hammer, and Chief Lovell made the announcement.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Portland Police Bureau, and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office with assistance from the Clackamas County Inter-agency Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott M. Kerin is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Opioid abuse affects communities across the nation. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that there were more than 100,000 drug overdoses in the U.S. during the 12-month period ending April 2021, an increase of nearly 29% from the previous 12-month period. Synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) accounted for more than three quarters of these deaths. Drug overdose continues to be the leading cause of injury or death in the U.S.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. A 3-milligram dose of fentanyl—a few grains of the substance—is enough to kill an average adult male. The availability of illicit fentanyl in Oregon has caused a dramatic increase in overdose deaths throughout the state.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, please call the Lines for Life substance abuse helpline at 1-800-923-4357 or visit www.linesforlife.org. Phone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also text “RecoveryNow” to 839863 between 8am and 11pm Pacific Time daily.

This prosecution is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the U.S. by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Oregon Marijuana Exporter Sentenced to Federal Prison - 05/24/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—On May 23, 2022, a former resident of Milwaukie, Oregon was sentenced to federal prison for illegally exporting marijuana grown in Oregon to Georgia for resale and laundering the proceeds.

Dante Baldocchi, 30, currently a resident of Altadena, California, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, between January 2017 and June 2020, Baldocchi purchased marijuana in Oregon and arranged to have it shipped via freight to Georgia where he and others sold it to distributors in the Atlanta area and in North Carolina. Baldocchi and his associates shipped portions of the proceeds from Georgia back to Oregon in vacuum-sealed bags and other portions concealed in buckets of drywall spackle.

On June 9, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed on Baldocchi’s then-residence in Milwaukie. Investigators located more than 330 pounds of marijuana grown in Oregon.

On August 19, 2021, Baldocchi and an associate—Hunter Lacaden, 27, of Portland—were charged by criminal information with conspiring to distribute marijuana and commit money laundering. On October 13, 2021, Baldocchi pleaded guilty to both charges.

On September 21, 2021, Lacaden pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute marijuana. On March 28, 2022, he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and IRS-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia E. Jarrett prosecuted the case.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Federal Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty for Role in Bribery and Contraband Smuggling Conspiracy - 05/19/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former federal correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Sheridan, Oregon pleaded guilty today for his role in a bribery and contraband smuggling conspiracy.

Nickolas Carlos Herrera, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, providing contraband in prison, and accepting a bribe as a public official.

According to court documents, from April 2015 until he was placed on administrative leave in December 2019, Herrera was employed as a correctional officer at FCI Sheridan, a federal prison in Yamhill County, Oregon. Herrera used his position to introduce contraband into the facility for the benefit of select inmates including Donte Hunt, 40, who is in custody pending an October 2022 trial on federal drug, gun, and money laundering charges. In the spring of 2019, Herrera began bringing contraband items such as food, clothing, and cigarettes into the facility, which he gave to Hunt in exchange for money. 

Later, Herrera brought Hunt marijuana; Suboxone, a Schedule III narcotic; Yeezy brand designer sneakers, and a cell phone. Herrera obtained the narcotics and other items from Elizabeth McIntosh, 34, a non-incarcerated associate of Hunt’s. On at least one occasion, Herrera allowed Hunt to use a staff phone at the prison to call McIntosh to arrange the delivery of Suboxone to Herrera. Herrera met McIntosh on multiple occasions to obtain the narcotics and other items for Hunt and accepted payment from McIntosh via transfers of cash and transfers using various digital payment services including PayPal, Apple Cash, and Square.

On September 24, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Herrera, Hunt, and McIntosh with conspiracy and bribing a public official. Herrera and Hunt were additionally charged with providing contraband in prison.

Herrera and McIntosh were arraigned on November 2 and 4, 2020, respectively. Both were released on conditions. Hunt was arraigned on November 19, 2020 and ordered to continue his pre-trial detention.

Herrera and Hunt face maximum sentences of 25 years in prison, a $750,000 fine, and five years’ supervised released. McIntosh faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, and five years’ supervised released.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is being prosecuted by Ethan Knight and Katherine Rykken, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
California Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Kidnapping Former Dating Partner, Illegal Firearm Possession - 05/18/22

MEDFORD, Ore.—On May 17, 2022, a Humboldt County, California man was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for the armed kidnapping of three adult victims, including a former dating partner, and illegally possessing a stolen firearm as a convicted felon.

George Gene Rose, 45, was sentenced to 300 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

“Mr. Rose’s callous and terrifying kidnapping of his former partner and two other adult victims warrant the lengthy prison sentence imposed today. We hope this sentence will bring some measure of peace and closure for these victims after this harrowing ordeal,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. 

“The physical and emotional toll Mr. Rose subjected his victims to cannot be undone; however, our hope is that today’s sentence begins the healing process for these victims. His actions were cold-blooded and egregious and physical and emotional violence of this kind will not be tolerated,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

According to court documents, on August 3, 2020, Rose entered the apartment of his first victim, a former dating partner, and waited for them to return home from work. Once inside, he stole a shotgun and several shotgun shells belonging to the victim’s landlord. When the victim returned home with a roommate, Rose confronted both individuals and ordered them to the ground at gunpoint. He bound both by their hands and feet and placed duct tape over their mouths and faces. Rose located a third victim in an adjacent bedroom and tied them up in a similar manner at gunpoint. When the third victim tried to break free of the binding, Rose struck them in the head with the butt of the stolen shotgun.

Rose then forced all three victims into a stolen pickup truck and fled. Several hours later, he released his second and third victims in a rural area of Northern California and told them to seek help from a house located two miles away. Rose continued driving north toward Oregon, while his first victim faded in and out of consciousness. Near Talent, Oregon, Rose abandoned the truck and led his first victim, who was not wearing shoes, through a densely wooded area. He repeatedly voiced his intention to kill the victim and himself.

Three days after the kidnapping, Rose’s victim convinced him to turn himself in. Rose eventually allowed the victim to knock on the door of a nearby residence and negotiate the terms of his surrender to police. Rose was arrested in possession of the stolen shotgun and more than two dozen shotgun shells.

On May 20, 2021, a federal grand jury in Medford returned a two-count indictment charging Rose with kidnapping and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On September 27, 2021, he pleaded guilty to both charges.

U.S. Attorney Asphaug and Special Agent in Charge Ramsey made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office. It was prosecuted by John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Domestic violence involving a current or former partner is a serious crime that includes both physical and emotional abuse. Sometimes these crimes are hidden from public view with survivors suffering in silence, afraid to seek help or not knowing where to turn. The traumatic effects of domestic violence also extend beyond the abused person, impacting family members and communities.

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you need assistance or know someone who needs help, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or texting “START” to 88788. Many communities throughout the country have also developed support networks to assist survivors in the process of recovery.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Woman on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation - 05/17/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Warm Springs, Oregon man pleaded guilty today for sexually assaulting a woman on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

Jerome Albert Stanley, Jr., 27, pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact.

According to court documents, on August 9, 2020, after being warned not to do so, Stanley entered a bedroom occupied by an adult woman in a residence on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and sexually assaulted the woman. Later, during a recorded call with the victim, Stanley admitted to the abusive sexual contact and acknowledged it should not have happened.

On September 15, 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a four-count indictment charging Stanley with sexual abuse of an incapable victim and aggravated sexual abuse by force. Prior to pleading guilty, on May 11, 2022, Stanley was charged by superseding criminal information with abusive sexual contact.

Stanley faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years’ supervised release. He will be sentenced on August 8, 2022 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

As part of the plea agreement, Stanley will pay restitution to his victim as identified by the government and ordered by the court at sentencing. He must also register as a sex offender.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Warm Springs Tribal Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pamela Paaso and Erin Greenawald are prosecuting the case.

Sexual assault is a serious violent crime frequently hidden from public view. Many survivors suffer in silence, afraid to seek help or not knowing where to turn. The traumatic effects of sexual violence also extend beyond the abused person, impacting family members and communities.

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you need assistance or know someone who needs help, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline by calling 1-800-656-4673 or visiting online.rainn.org to chat online. Trained staff members are available 24/7 year-round. Many communities throughout the country have also developed support networks to assist survivors in the process of recovery.

The StrongHearts Native Helpline offers culturally specific support and advocacy for American Indian and Alaska Native survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Please call 1-844-762-8483 or visit www.strongheartshelpline.org for more information.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Jury Convicts Former New Jersey Man for Role in Scheme to Defraud Elderly Oregonian of Savings - 05/13/22

EUGENE, Ore.—A federal jury in Eugene found a former New Jersey man guilty today for his role in a scheme to steal $1 million from an elderly man residing in Roseburg, Oregon.

Thomas Gerard Mautone, 43, formerly of Newark, New Jersey, was found guilty of four counts of wire fraud.

According to court documents and trial testimony, Mautone was one of five individuals who together perpetrated a monthslong scheme to convince an elderly man to invest $1 million in a fraudulent high-yield international investment scheme. In July 2015, one of Mautone’s co-defendants, Jared Mack, 46, of Utah, made initial contact with the victim, by email, to pitch an investment opportunity claiming to produce weekly returns of 20%. Once the victim expressed interest in the purported investment opportunity, Mack introduced him to Mautone, the supposed connection to investment “platform partner,” and later codefendant, Olabode Olukanni, 39, of New York.

For several months, Mautone and his co-defendants maintained frequent contact with the victim and repeatedly attempted to assure him, via a series of increasingly intimidating and pressure-laden communications, of the investment opportunity’s legitimacy, low risk, and promised returns. These false representations were made despite Mautone knowing that others had their money stolen by his supposed Hong Kong investment partner, “YangXin Deng.” 

In December 2015, the victim wired $1 million to a bank account in Dubai, which was controlled by codefendant Rovshan Bahader Oglu Qasimov, 38, of Azerbaijan. Qasimov immediately withdrew the money and used it to purchase gold from a jewelry store in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The victim never saw his money again, nor did he receive the promised investment returns.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release. Mautone will be sentenced on September 8, 2022 by U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

Mack, Olukanni, and Qasimov have all pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their roles in the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gavin W. Bruce and William M. McLaren prosecuted the case.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
U.S. Attorney's Office Recognizes National Police Week, May 11-17, 2022 - 05/11/22

PORTLAND, Ore.— In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. This year’s commemoration is observed Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” said Attorney General Garland. “We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”

“All of us at the U.S. Attorney’s Office are inspired everyday by the extraordinary courage and dedication of our law enforcement partners who repeatedly put their lives on the line to protect our communities. National Police Week is a longstanding tradition that affords all of us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of law enforcement and honor those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. We offer our deepest gratitude and sincere thanks to everyone in law enforcement as well as their families and loved ones,” said U.S. Attorney Asphaug.

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, celebrated every year on May 15, honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 472 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021. Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19.

According to 2021 statistics reported by the FBI through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 73 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by felonious acts and 56 died in accidents. Deaths resulting from felonious acts increased by more than 58 percent in 2021. Additionally, in 2021, unprovoked attacks were the cause of 24 deaths, outpacing all other line of duty deaths resulting from felony acts and marking the highest annual total in over 30 years of reporting. LEOKA statistics can be found on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website

The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Friday, May 13, 2022, during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 5:00 PM PDT. The vigil can be streamed live online on the NLEOMF YouTube channel. A full schedule of National Police Week events is available on NLEOMF’s website.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Gang Member Sentenced to Federal Prison for Armed Robbery of Eugene Marijuana Dispensary - 05/11/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland man affiliated with the Hoover Criminal Gang and Unthank Park Hustlers, two allied Portland street gangs, was sentenced to federal prison today for robbing a Eugene marijuana dispensary.

Timothy Christopher Gaines, 30, was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, on December 20, 2019, Gaines and an accomplice robbed Green Therapy, a marijuana dispensary in Eugene, of several jars of marijuana and $912 in cash. Gaines brandished a firearm during the robbery and pointed it at a store employee cowering on the floor.

On June 25, 2020, Gaines was charged by criminal complaint with Hobbs Act robbery. Later, on July 23, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Gaines with the same. A superseding indictment returned on October 20, 2020 added a charge of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

On February 14, 2022, Gaines pleaded guilty to using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Eugene Police Department and Portland Police Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah K. Bolstad prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bank Fraud Scheme - 05/10/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland man was sentenced to federal prison today for using a residential property he did not own as collateral for obtaining a bank loan worth more than $316,000.

Alireza Zamanizadeh, aka Ali Zamani, 63, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release. The court also ordered Zamanizadeh to pay $400,000 in restitution to the owner of the property.

According to court documents, on or about February 17, 2017, Zamanizadeh filed a quitclaim deed in Deschutes County, transferring a residential property in Bend, Oregon to his business for one dollar without the property owner’s consent. A quitclaim deed is a document used to quickly transfer the ownership of real property from one party to another. 

Zamanizadeh then used the property as collateral for obtaining a loan worth $316,092 from a mortgage lender and forged the property owner’s signature on a statement verifying the property transfer. Based on his false representations, the mortgage company approved the loan and transferred the funds to Zamanizadeh’s bank account. After Zamanizadeh defaulted on the loan, the true owner of the property purchased the property out of foreclosure for $400,000.

On June 14, 2021, Zamanizadeh was charged by criminal information with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. On September 14, 2021, he pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the FBI. It was prosecuted by Katherine A. Rykken, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. 

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Corvallis Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Identity Theft - 05/06/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former Corvallis, Oregon lawyer pleaded guilty today for perpetrating a scheme to defraud her clients and use their payments to fund personal expenses.

Megan Moeller, aka Megan Perry, 42, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft.

According to court documents, beginning in at least 2014, Moeller, whose legal practice purportedly involved family law, divorce, child custody and visitation, and adoption matters, knowingly and intentionally perpetrated a scheme to defraud her clients by accepting payment for various legal services, failing to perform those services, using fraudulent means to conceal her failure to perform the services, and using the proceeds to fund her own personal expenses.

In one instance, in June 2016, Moeller accepted payment from a client in a child visitation and support case. Moeller falsely claimed to have drafted and served an order to show cause regarding the enforcement of parenting time to her client’s former spouse. Despite Moeller’s claims to the contrary and her client’s repeated inquiries, the document was never received by the former spouse. On March 23, 2017, Moeller provided her client with a fraudulent affidavit of service of process and a fraudulent certified mail receipt on which Moeller had knowingly forged the signature of her client’s former spouse. Moeller also forged the signatures of a process server and a notary.

On March 1, 2018, Moeller submitted a Form B resignation to the Oregon State Bar. It was accepted on April 5, 2018.

On April 29, 2022, Moeller was charged by superseding criminal information with wire fraud and identity theft.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release. Identity theft is punishable by up to 15 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

Moeller will be sentenced on August 4, 2022, before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
U.S. Attorney's Office Joins in Recognizing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, May 5, 2022 - 05/05/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—On May 4, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. proclaimed today, May 5, 2022, as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day.

The proclamation reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to solving all missing and murdered Indigenous persons cases and addressing the underlying causes of these crimes, including sexual violence, human trafficking, domestic violence, other violent crime, systemic racism, economic disparities, and substance use and addition.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon joins its Tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in taking this opportunity to highlight the importance of supporting Tribal crime victims and synthesizing investigative leads and information across government and law enforcement agencies.

“Supporting and enhancing public safety in Tribal communities is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department. As such, we are fully committed to implementing Savanna’s Act and bolstering the collection and reporting of data on missing or murdered Native people. Despite great progress we have made with our Indian Country partners, we know there is much more the Justice Department and federal government can do to support these communities. We will continue to work diligently toward safety, justice, and healing for all,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

In June 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the hiring of its first Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) program coordinator. In February 2021, the office released its first annual MMIP program report, summarizing what is known about missing and murdered Indigenous people in Oregon and outlining the office’s plans and goals. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is expected to release its second annual report this summer.

If you or someone you know have information about missing or murdered Indigenous people in Oregon, please contact the FBI Portland Field Office by calling (503) 224-4181 or by visiting tips.fbi.gov.

If you have questions about the U.S. Attorney’s Office MMIP program, please contact MMIP program coordinator Cedar Wilkie Gillette by emailing Cedar.Wilkie.Gillette@usdoj.gov or by calling (503) 727-1000.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Fugitive Wanted in the District of Oregon Returned to the U.S. After Two Decades on the Run - 05/04/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—An international fugitive and former resident of San Diego who is wanted in the District of Oregon for perpetrating a real estate scam was apprehended in and returned to the U.S. from Costa Rica after more than two decades on the run.

Robin James McPherson, who faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering in the District of Oregon, made a federal court appearance this week in Houston en route to the Southern District of California where he will soon be sentenced for tax crimes.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed today in Oregon, in early August 2019, the FBI began investigating McPherson after several individuals reported being the victims of a real estate scheme operating out of Springfield, Oregon and Costa Rica. McPherson is alleged to have used a variety of marketing techniques, including cold calls, promotional websites, and Facebook advertisements, to find potential investors in an alleged Costa Rican real estate development opportunity called the Carara Parque Resort Corporation. After victims showed interest in the faux investment opportunity, McPherson would conduct sales calls, from Costa Rica, to explain the project.

Over a period of months, McPherson directed victims to wire investment funds to a bank account in Oregon. He then transferred the funds to Costa Rica. Between December 2015 and August 2019, approximately $1.2 million dollars were transmitted to the Oregon bank account. McPherson used many different excuses to explain to his investors why no resort villas had been constructed. McPherson did not disclose to investors that their contracts had not been honored and no villas were slated for construction. McPherson used investors’ funds to pay for various personal expenses including his own mortgage.

In December 2000, McPherson and two co-conspirators were found guilty at trial in the Southern District of California of conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. Prior to being sentenced in March 2001, McPherson fled the U.S.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of the Oregon.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Grass Seed Company Employee Charged in Scheme to Defraud Simplot - 05/02/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—An Idaho man who formerly supervised order-fulfillment and warehousing operations for the Jacklin Seed Company, a Liberty Lake, Washington producer and marketer of grass seed and turfgrass, has been charged for his role in multiple schemes to defraud the J.R. Simplot Company and Jacklin, its former subsidiary.

Richard Dunham, 64, a resident of Hayden Lake, Idaho, has been charged by federal criminal information with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to court documents, from 1997 until its sale in 2020, the J.R. Simplot Company, a major privately held supplier of agricultural products headquartered in Boise, Idaho, owned and operated Jacklin. During this time, much of Jacklin’s business operations, including a seed-blending and warehousing facility, were located in and around Albany, Oregon. Dunham, who supervised Jacklin’s Albany operations, had the authority to purchase grass seed from certain Oregon growers over others.

At some point between 2013 and 2015, Dunham, Jacklin general manager Christopher Claypool, 53, of Spokane, Washington, and others realized that growers’ preference for higher-yield grasses was creating substantial shortages of lower-yield varieties Jacklin had contracted to deliver to its customers. Dunham and Claypool recognized that these shortages would either cause Jacklin to fail to deliver on its existing contracts or require Jacklin to pay a premium to growers to acquire necessary inventory, substantially eroding company profits. The pair anticipated that either result would negatively affect their careers.

From January 2015 and continuing until at least the summer of 2019, Dunham and Claypool directed Jacklin employees, at the Albany facility and elsewhere, to fulfill customer orders with different varieties of grass seed than the customers had ordered, to conceal such substitutions from the customers, and to invoice the customers as though no substitutions had taken place. Together, they referred to this scheme as “getting creative.”

To conceal the unauthorized substitutions, Dunham and Claypool directed Jacklin employees to package the substitute seed varieties with false and misleading labels. They also directed employees to invoice the customers under the original terms of their contracts, notwithstanding the unauthorized substitutions. As a result of this scheme, Simplot refunded or credited more than $1.5 million to defrauded buyers.

During the same time, Dunham and Claypool also agreed to import mislabeled seeds from Moore Seeds, a Jacklin supplier based in Debolt, Alberta, Canada, to offset the shortage of one of Jacklin’s best-selling grass seed blends. In doing so, Dunham conspired with Raymond Walker, 60, a resident of Debolt and Moore’s managing director, to purchase a less expensive seed blend at above-market rates in exchange for Walker falsely labeling the seed as Jacklin’s premier blend and shipping it, under that false pretense, to Jacklin in Oregon.

In additional to the undisclosed seed substitutions, Dunham engaged in another scheme while employed with Jacklin. Beginning in April 2015, Dunham conspired with Gregory McCarthy, the owner of Ground Zero Seeds, a grass seed production and wholesale company based in Yamhill, Oregon that regularly did business with Jacklin. Dunham and McCarthy, who were longtime friends, agreed that Ground Zero would pay Dunham a per pound kickback for grass seed purchased by Jacklin. These kickbacks were built into the prices reflected on Ground Zero’s invoices to Jacklin and, between April 2015 and September 2019, caused Ground Zero is pay Dunham more than $191,789.

In facilitating their scheme, Dunham and McCarthy regularly corresponded by email, referring to Ground Zero’s kickbacks to Dunham as “shoes” or contributions to his “shoe fund.” To conceal their scheme, Dunham maintained an LLC through which he claimed to provide consulting and brokering services. Dunham negotiated kickbacks and fees from Ground Zero and other Jacklin suppliers through the LLC’s business checking account.

Dunham made his initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman. He was released pending further court proceedings.

On July 7, 2021, Claypool was sentenced to three years in federal prison and three years’ supervised release after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wired fraud and money laundering.

On March 3, 2022, McCarthy was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was arraigned on March 15, 2022 in Portland and released pending a two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on July 26, 2022.

In September 2021, in a separate criminal case, ProSeeds Marketing, Inc., a Willamette Valley grass seed distributor, pleaded guilty after knowingly concealing a scheme to defraud Jacklin. On November 29, 2021, the company was sentenced to a year of probation, a $5,000 fine, and more than $78,000 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Federal Jury Convicts Clackamas Man for Armed Robbery of Pub - 04/28/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—On April 27, 2022, a federal jury in Portland found a Clackamas, Oregon man guilty for robbing a local public house at gunpoint and making off with five cartons of cigarettes.

Dustin Lee Henderson, 40, was found guilty of interfering with commerce with threats or violence; possessing a firearm in furtherance of, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to, a crime of violence; and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

According to court documents, on November 22, 2019, Henderson robbed the Lighthouse Pub, a public house and deli located on 82nd Avenue in Clackamas. In video surveillance of the robbery, Henderson was seen handing the pub clerk a bag and taking five cartons of cigarettes. The pub’s owner chased Henderson through a parking lot when Henderson discharged a single round from his firearm, prompting the owner to stop the chase. Law enforcement later recovered a .22 caliber cartridge case near the site of the shooting.

Law enforcement later observed Henderson in a nearby mobile home lot and arrested him. Investigators executed a state search warrant on a mobile home where Henderson resided and recovered the stolen cigarette cartons, clothes worn by Henderson during the robbery, and a .22 pistol. A DNA analysis later linked Henderson to the seized firearm.

On January 22, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging Henderson with interfering with commerce with threats or violence, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Henderson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from Oregon State Police and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cassady Adams, Craig Gabriel, and Suzanne Miles prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Methamphetamine Seized in January 2018
Methamphetamine Seized in January 2018
California Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Eastern Oregon Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy (Photo) - 04/27/22

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Vacaville, California man was sentenced to federal prison today for his role in a conspiracy to traffic large quantities of methamphetamine from California for distribution in Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington.

Noel Lomas Murillo, 34, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in November 2017, the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT), Oregon State Police (OSP), and the FBI began investigating a drug trafficking organization led by Murillo’s brother, Abel Lomas Murillo, 28, of Weston, Oregon.

The investigation revealed that, as early as July 2017, Noel Murillo transported drugs from Vacaville to Klamath Falls, Oregon where a courier would deliver them to his brother. Abel Murillo also made multiple trips to Medford, Oregon to pick up drugs and transport them to Morrow and Umatilla Counties for distribution.

In January 2018, an OSP trooper stopped one of the Abel Murillo’s couriers, Luis Alberto Navarro, 33, of Boardman, Oregon, in a vehicle traveling near Klamath Falls en route to Umatilla County. A search of the vehicle revealed 11 concealed packages containing more than eight kilograms of methamphetamine.

In early May 2018, as the investigation continued, Abel Murillo enlisted another courier, Noel Ponce Villegas, 28, also of Boardman, to drive methamphetamine from Medford to Boardman. Investigators surveilled Abel Murillo as he traveled from Umatilla County to a storage locker in Medford and loaded a trailer pulled by his truck. Abel Murillo paid Villegas to drive his truck and trailer while he followed him to minimize his own risk. In the early morning hours of May 6, 2018, investigators from BENT, OSP and FBI stopped Abel Murillo and Villegas as they drove near mile marker 102 on Interstate 84.

Investigators seized 42 packages of methamphetamine, 36 of which were concealed in the false bottom of a propane tank. The packages contained approximately 17.6 kilograms of methamphetamine. Later the same day, investigators executed a search warrant at Abel Murillo’s residence, seizing 29 firearms and body armor. Pursuant to a separate search warrant, another 10 pounds of methamphetamine and five firearms were found in a Medford storage locker Abel Murillo had visited earlier in the weekend.

On December 19, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a two-count superseding indictment charging Noel Murillo with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribute methamphetamine and possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine. On September 28, 2021, he pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

On May 7, 2018, Navarro pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He will be sentenced on May 23, 2022.

On April 15, 2019, Abel Murillo pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. On September 10, 2019, he was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

On April 18, 2019, Villegas pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine. On December 16, 2020, he was sentenced to time served and three years’ supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by BENT, OSP, and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

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