U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
IRS Criminal Investigation Warns taxpayers About Child Tax Credit Scams - 07/23/21

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division is warning taxpayers about Child Tax Credit-related scams, which criminals may use to steal money and personal information. 

While millions of American families started receiving the advance Child Tax Credit payments last week, criminals were already looking for innovative tactics to take advantage of unwitting victims. Taxpayers should be on the lookout for a variety of phone, e-mail, text message and social media scams targeting families eligible for the credit. Any communication offering assistance to sign up for the Child Tax Credit or to speed up the monthly payments is likely a scam. When receiving unsolicited calls or messages, taxpayers should not provide personal information, click on links, or open attachments as this may lead to money loss, tax-related fraud, and identity theft. 

“For the first time, Americans are receiving advance payments of the child tax credit, giving rise to historic relief for millions of working families. Unfortunately, with these payments, there are those who, driven by greed, will try to exploit you for your child tax credit payment,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Corinne Kalve. “Taxpayers need to be aware of these threats and act with caution.”

“Advance payment of the child tax credit will give much needed support to millions of American families. Unfortunately, some individuals see these payments as an opportunity to enrich themselves at the cost of hardworking parents. Along with our partners at IRS, we will do everything in our power to prevent criminals from taking advantage of these families,” Said Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Although scammers constantly come up with new schemes to try and catch taxpayers off-guard, there are simple ways to identify if it is truly the IRS reaching out. 

  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers via e-mail, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information, even information related to the Child Tax Credit. 
  • The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening messages. Aggressive calls warning taxpayers about a lawsuit or arrest are fake.
  • The IRS will not call taxpayers asking them to provide or verify financial information so they can obtain the monthly Child Tax Credit payments.
  • The IRS will not ask for payment via a gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency. 

For taxpayers eligible for advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, the IRS will use information from their 2020 or 2019 tax return to automatically enroll them for advance payments. Taxpayers do not have to take any additional action. Taxpayers who are not required to file a tax return or who have not provided the IRS their information, may visit IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021 to provide basic information for the Child Tax Credit. 

To report suspicious IRS-related phishing and online scams, visit IRS.gov

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Arizona Accountant Sentenced to Federal Prison for Tax Evasion - 07/21/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former certified public accountant and former chief financial officer of a McMinnville, Oregon company was sentenced to federal prison today for evading $99,000 in personal income taxes.

Kent Jensen, 58, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in 2014 and 2015, Jenson, who also previously worked as an auditor with an international accounting firm and a financial consultant for a business in Milwaukie, Oregon, allegedly set up several nominee companies and nominee bank accounts to conceal most of his personal income from the IRS. Jensen arranged for his financial consulting clients to pay his consulting fees to these nominee companies. He then deposited the funds into nominee bank accounts and used the proceeds for personal expenses. In 2014 and 2015, Jensen submitted false personal income tax returns that substantially underreported his personal income and the taxes owed.

In February 2021, Jensen was charged by criminal information with two counts of felony tax evasion. He pleaded to both charges on April 19, 2021.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Karin J. Immergut ordered Jensen to pay $99,000 in restitution to the IRS.

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

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Prolific Tax Cheat Pleads Guilty in Federal Court - 07/19/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—An Oregon man pleaded guilty today to six felony charges after failing to pay more than $1.7 million in personal income taxes in a complex tax evasion scheme dating back to 2001.

Robert Andrew Lund, of Lebanon, Oregon, pleaded guilty to tax evasion, failure to file personal income tax returns, and stealing food stamp and Medicaid benefits.

According to court documents, in the mid 1980s, after working for several years as a computer engineer and programmer for the Hewlett Packard company, Lund moved to Oregon and started a private computer consulting company called Lund Performance Solutions (LPS). LPS’s clients included large businesses, school districts, and health care companies located throughout the U.S. In 1993, Lund paid $30,000 to an offshore trust promoter to establish layers of trusts to hide his LPS profits from the IRS. From 1994 to 1996, despite LPS being highly profitable, Lund reported almost no income on his personal income tax returns. Soon after, the IRS audited Lund and determined he owed more than $2.7 million in taxes plus penalties.

Lund used his untaxed profits to buy 90 acres of land outside Eugene, Oregon on which he built a 7,000 square foot house that was later appraised at $950,000. Lund, a small aircraft pilot, also built a private landing strip on the property. Lund also purchased the former city hall and post office building in Albany, Oregon, a trailer park with multiple rental units, and two rental houses. Lund ran LPS and several smaller businesses, including a health food store, a bookstore, and a scuba diving equipment and lessons company, from the building in Albany.

Lund challenged his tax assessments in U.S. Tax Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both affirmed he owed the IRS unpaid taxes. In response, Lund stopped filing tax returns altogether and began creating many limited liability companies (LLC) and trusts to conceal his income and assets. During this time, Lund sought the assistance of a known tax protestor attorney from Georgia named Kyle Weeks. Weeks later surrendered his law license and was convicted for filing false tax returns.

Over the next decade, the IRS sent Lund dozens of letters, bills, and summonses for financial records. Lund replied with his own letters claiming he was not a U.S. citizen and therefore not subject to taxation or the IRS’s authority. During this same time, Lund continued to go to extraordinary lengths to hide his assets and income from the IRS while also stealing from government assistance programs and taking advantage of personal contacts. He repeatedly transferred title to his properties to various straw entities and people; hid rental income by signing leases with the names of at least 16 different LLCs, partnerships, and trusts; applied for and received food stamps and Medicaid benefits; and convinced an employee to open a bank account on behalf of one of Lund’s trusts. On his food stamp and Medicaid applications, Lund boldly claimed to be a part-time handyman earning just $810 a month. In total, Lund stole approximately $70,000 in public benefits, most of which were paid by the federal government.

On June 12, 2019, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Lund with tax evasion, failure to file personal income tax returns, obstructing or impeding the IRS, and theft of government funds. Lund is also charged in a separate federal case with making a false statement in connection with a personal bankruptcy case. All of Lund’s remaining charges will be dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

Lund faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in prison, $950,000 in fines, and three years’ supervised release. He will be sentenced on October 14, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

As part of his plea agreement, Lund will pay more than $1.7 million in restitution to the IRS and $70,000 to the Oregon Health Authority.

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

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Seth D. Uram and Meredith D.M. Bateman, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Local Entrepreneur Faces Federal Charges for COVID-Relief Fraud - 07/14/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—An indictment was unsealed in federal court today charging a Portland entrepreneur with fraudulently applying for and converting to his personal use loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter Peacock Blood, 57, has been charged with two counts of loan fraud.

According to court documents, Blood is the sole owner and principal officer of two Oregon corporations, Cycle Power Partners, LLC, and Cycle Holdings, LLC. According to tax returns filed in 2019 and 2020, Cycle Power Partners had two or fewer employees and paid less than $6,900 in quarterly wages and other compensation. No quarterly tax returns were filed for Cycle Holdings during this time period.

In April 2020, Blood is alleged to have knowingly made false statements on two separate Paycheck Protection Program loan applications. In these applications, Blood claimed his companies had 10 employees and an average monthly payroll in excess of $116,000. The first application resulted in a loan of more than $332,000; the second yielded a loan of more than $290,000.

If convicted, Blood faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, 5 years’ supervised release, and fines of up to $2 million.

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

This case was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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

The Paycheck Protection Program is an economic relief program authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and administered by the Small Business Administration. The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans and small businesses suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit http://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Fourth Oregon Bull Trout Poacher Sentenced in Federal Court after Coordinated Law Enforcement Operation - 07/14/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—Tyler Glenn Chance Warren, 31, of Pendleton, Oregon, was sentenced to three years’ federal probation, a $1,000 fine, 40 hours of community service, and a three-year fishing ban after illegally taking bull trout from the Metolius River in the Deschutes National Forest.

Warren is the fourth Oregon resident convicted in federal court for illegally taking bull trout from area waters since Operation No Bull, a coordinated anti-poaching law enforcement operation, launched in 2017. Since its inception, the operation has resulted in criminal charges, civil penalties, or citations for more 30 bull trout poachers in federal, state, and Tribal courts.

According to court documents, on December 3, 2017, Warren and co-defendant Thomas R. Campbell, 30, of Culver, Oregon, illegally took several bull trout from the Metolius River and the Eyerly Property, a portion of protected land adjacent to the Metolius near its confluence with Lake Billy Chinook. The Eyerly Property is held in trust by the U.S. for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and only accessible to tribal members.

On December 4, 2017, Campbell posted a photo on Instagram of himself holding a juvenile bull trout. Another Instagram post showed Warren holding a bull trout on the Metolius. Investigators later found more photos on Campbell’s phone including several that Campbell and Warren had texted to each other on December 3. One of the photos depicted Warren holding a bull trout over a cast iron pan containing steaming fish meat. Another depicted Warren holding a dead bull trout with a beer can wedged in its mouth. Warren transported the fish to his residence in Redmond where he texted Campbell two additional photos of Ziploc bags filled with bull trout fillets. Investigators believe Warren took at least four bull trout from the Metolius on December 3, but the exact number is unknown.

On September 9, 2019, Warren, Campbell, and a third co-defendant, Joshua Alan Hanslovan, 29, of Albany, Oregon, were charged by criminal information with violating the Lacey Act. All three men later waived indictment and pleaded guilty. On November 23, 2020, Campbell was sentenced to five years’ federal probation, a $6,000 fine, and 300 hours of community service ordered to be served on habitat restoration and conservation projects. On June 16, 2021, Hanslovan was sentenced to three years’ federal probation, a three-year angling ban, and 125 hours of community service. On December 7, 2021, a fourth poacher, Tyrone T. Wacker, 42, of Culver, Oregon was sentenced in a separate criminal case to five years’ probation, a three-year angling and hunting ban, a $1,000 fine, and 90 hours of community service.

The fines issued as part of federal sentences in these cases were ordered to be paid to the Lacey Act Reward Account, a fund used to provide monetary awards to those who provide information about wildlife crimes and to pay costs incurred caring for fish, wildlife or plants held as evidence in ongoing investigations.

Bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and are vulnerable to overfishing. Poaching represents a lethal threat to their recovery. Today, bull trout inhabit less than half of their historic range. Central Oregon’s Metolius River is an important spawning ground for the fish and helps to populate other waters. Bull trout are revered by anglers and are an important Tribal resource.

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

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement; Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division; Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Branch of Natural Resources; and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations. It was prosecuted by Will McLaren and Pam Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for protecting America’s wildlife from poaching, illegal commercialization, and other kinds of wildlife crime. If you have information related to a wildlife crime, please call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477) or email fws_tips@fws.gov.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Newport Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Creating Illegal Video Streaming and Downloading Websites - 07/09/21

EUGENE, Ore.—A Newport, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for creating websites to illegally distribute thousands of copyright-protected movies and television shows and evading taxes on the profits of his illicit endeavor.

Talon White, 31, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in October 2013, investigators received information regarding numerous illegal websites linked to White that allowed paid subscribers to stream and download thousands of copyright-protected movies and television shows. In 2014, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), an organization that assists the motion picture and television industry in protecting its intellectual property rights, demanded White cease and desist his illegal activity. White ignored the demand. Over the next four years, White migrated his illicit business and subscribers from one website to another to avoid detection.

By 2018, White had amassed millions of dollars in subscription fees from his websites. Between February 2018 and September 2018 alone, he collected nearly $3 million in fees. In November 2018, investigators served search and seizure warrants on his house in Newport and several bank accounts. Agents seized $3.9 million from his accounts, $35,000 in cash, and more than $1 million in cryptocurrency. Between 2013 and 2017, White also filed false personal income tax returns, underreporting his income by more than $4.4 million and causing a tax loss to the IRS of more than $1.7 million.

On November 1, 2019, White was charged by criminal information with copyright infringement and tax evasion. On November 25, 2019, White pleaded guilty to both charges.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken ordered White to pay more than $4.3 million in restitution to the MPAA and IRS. White must also forfeit all U.S. currency and cryptocurrency seized from his bank accounts, in addition to his Newport house that was purchased with proceeds of his scheme.

Acting 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. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gavin W. Bruce and Amy Potter prosecuted the case.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Man Sentenced to 19 Years in Federal Prison After Second Armed Career Criminal Act Conviction - 07/08/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—After serving more than 15 years in federal prison for his first conviction under the Armed Career Criminal Act, a Portland man is headed back to federal prison for new drug and firearm offenses committed while on post-prison supervision.

Kelly David Ankeny, Sr., 61, was sentenced to 230 months in federal prison.

According to court documents, in October 2003, after being released from state prison, Ankeny took up residence in a house occupied by his 18-year-old son and his son’s roommates. At the time, Ankeny had prior convictions for second degree robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and drug trafficking. Before long, Ankeny took over his son’s house, started selling methamphetamine, and obtained several firearms.

Ankeny’s ex-wife and the mother of his 18-year-old son tried to intervene and get Ankeny to leave the home. In response, Ankeny twice threatened her with a firearm. The ex-wife reported Ankeny’s conduct to the Portland Police Bureau who, after obtaining a federal search warrant, entered the home on November 20, 2003. Officers found Ankeny sitting in a recliner near the front door. Ankeny had one loaded handgun tucked beside the cushion of his recliner and a second sitting on an adjacent chair. Three other firearms were found in the house, including a sawed off shotgun and rifle.

On January 13, 2004, Ankeny was indicted by a federal grand jury in Portland for being a felon in possession of a firearm and illegally possessing an unregistered sawed off shotgun. On February 15, 2005, he pleaded guilty to both charges. After serving more than 15 years in federal prison, Ankeny began his term of supervised release on August 14, 2018. Less than one year after being released from prison, Ankeny admitted to using methamphetamine.

On June 25, 2019, several U.S. Probation officers conducted a home visit to Ankeny’s Gresham, Oregon residence. A safe in Ankeny’s room was found to contain more than four pounds of methamphetamine, a pound of heroin, and drug packaging material. During the search, Ankeny became enraged, hit a wall and yelled at the officers. Believing there was excessive danger in arresting Ankeny on the spot, the officers ordered Ankeny to report to the U.S. Probation office later that afternoon. Ankeny failed to appear and cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet.

U.S. Probation sought the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit who, over the next two months, attempted to locate and arrest Ankeny. On August 20, 2019, officers identified Ankeny driving a vehicle in east Multnomah County. They waited for Ankeny to enter a residence and developed a tactical plan to arrest him when he returned to this vehicle.

Later that day, Ankeny left the residence and got into his car. A deputy U.S. Marshal used his vehicle to block Ankeny’s car and Ankeny was ordered out at gunpoint. After he failed to comply with the orders, officers broke Ankeny’s driver side window, cut his seat belt, and removed him from the vehicle. A loaded 9mm firearm was found in a backpack, which was on Ankeny’s front passenger seat. Two additional handguns, ammunition, $16,000 in cash, and quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine were located elsewhere in the vehicle.

On September 26, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an eight-count indictment charging Ankeny with possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and illegally possessing  firearms as a convicted felon.

On December 17, 2020, Ankeny pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

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

This case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division. It was prosecuted by Thomas H. Edmonds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Washington State Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison After Traveling Across State Lines for Sex with a Minor - 07/08/21

EUGENE, Ore.—A Vancouver, Washington man was sentenced to federal prison today for sending sexually explicit emails and text messages to an undercover law enforcement officer posing online as a 13-year-old girl, and then traveling across state lines for a planned sexual encounter with the child.

Daniel Lee Baldie, 35, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 25 years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in January and February 2020, Baldie sent emails and text messages to a Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy posing online as a 13-year-old girl. Baldie’s emails included requests for a nude photo and descriptions of sexual acts he would engage in with the child. Baldie also sent the deputy a photo of his genitals. As part of the email and text message exchange, Baldie arranged to meet the purported child and bring her back to his residence in Vancouver for a sexual encounter.

On February 7, 2020, law enforcement officers followed Baldie from his residence to a meeting location in Corvallis, Oregon where he was arrested. Baldie admitted he intended to meet the child and take her back to his residence.

On February 11, 2020, Baldie was charged by criminal complaint with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted production of child pornography, and coercion and enticement. On March 30, 2021, he pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

This case was investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Jeffrey Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon and the Benton County District Attorney’s Office

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Grass Seed Company Manager Sentenced to Federal Prison for Schemes to Defraud Simplot and its Customers - 07/07/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—The former general manager of the Jacklin Seed Company, a Pacific Northwest producer and marketer of grass seed and turfgrass, was sentenced to federal prison today for conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering as part of multiple schemes to defraud Jacklin’s former owner, the J.R. Simplot Company, and its customers.

Christopher Claypool, 53, a resident of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced to three years in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Claypool has already paid nearly $8.3 million in restitution and agreed to forfeit nearly $7.8 million in criminally derived proceeds.

As general manager of Jacklin, Claypool oversaw the company’s product sales to domestic and foreign distributors. Jacklin contracted with independent growers in Oregon for the production of proprietary grass seed varieties and fulfilled orders from a distribution facility in Albany, Oregon. Differences in grass seed yield rates resulted in the over-delivery of some varieties and underproduction of others.

According to court documents, at some point between 2013 and 2015, Claypool and other Jacklin employees realized that growers’ preference for higher-yield grasses was creating substantial shortages of lower-yield varieties Jacklin had contracted to deliver to its customers. Claypool and a colleague who oversaw product fulfillment at the company’s Albany distribution facility 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. Claypool and his colleague anticipated that either result would negatively affect their careers.

From January 2015 and continuing until at least the summer of 2019, Claypool and his colleague 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. Claypool and his colleague referred to this scheme as “getting creative.”

To conceal the unauthorized substitutions, Claypool and his colleague 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 has refunded or credited more than $1.5 million to defrauded buyers.

In addition to the undisclosed seed substitutions, Claypool engaged in several other fraudulent schemes while serving as Jacklin’s general manager. In one scheme, he directed an accomplice to create a limited-liability corporation (LLC) to pose as an independent grass seed broker. Claypool and a colleague conspired to route a portion of Jacklin’s overseas sales through a competing grass-seed seller based in Jefferson, Oregon. The company would, in turn, add its own mark-up to the sales and kick back outsized commissions to Claypool through his accomplice’s LLC. From December 2018 through August 2019, Claypool generated more than $369,000 in fraudulent commissions.

In a third scheme, Claypool conspired with the owner of an independent travel agency in Spokane to inflate the purported costs of Claypool’s international business travel. Claypool traveled overseas extensively for business and had authority to approve his own travel expenses. In lieu of using Simplot’s contract travel agency, Claypool booked his flights through the independent travel agent. The agent booked economy and other lower-cost fares for Claypool, but created fake first-class bookings on the most expensive comparable itineraries in order to generate inflated invoices that he transmitted to Simplot, through Claypool, for payment. In total, the agent overbilled more than $500,000 for international airfare, the majority of which Claypool ultimately received in kickbacks from the agent.

In the most lucrative fraud scheme, Claypool directed Simplot’s payment of more than twelve million dollars in “rebates” and “commissions” to entities that were posing as foreign sales partners but were, in fact, fronts for Claypool’s coconspirators in embezzling those funds.  The coconspirators then transmitted part of their ill-gotten gains from accounts in Hong Kong to real estate investments in Hawaii under Claypool’s control.  Years later, Claypool sold the real estate and wired the proceeds to investment accounts in Spokane as part of an elaborate money laundering operation.

On February 24, 2021, Claypool was charged by criminal information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. On March 15, 2021, he waived indictment and pleaded guilty to all charges.

Acting 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 was prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Hillsboro Man Pleads Guilty in Mail and Identity Theft Scheme - 07/01/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Hillsboro, Oregon man pleaded guilty today after stealing hundreds of pieces of residential mail throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area and using the personal identity of one local resident to purchase a luxury car.

Dwayne Leroy Daan, 42, pleaded guilty to possessing stolen mail and a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service arrow key, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, between February and May 2020, Daan stole more than 800 pieces of mail from residences in Portland, Beaverton, West Linn, Milwaukee, and Hillsboro, Oregon. Some of the mail was stolen using a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service arrow key. On April 20, 2020, Daan used the stolen identity of a local resident to obtain a line of credit and purchase a 2018 Audi for $51,031 from a car dealership in Milwaukee.

On July 16, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a four-count indictment charging Daan with possessing stolen mail and a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service arrow key. Later, on June 29, 2021, a superseding criminal information added felony charges for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

With his continued acceptance of responsibility, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will join Daan in jointly recommending a 90 months federal prison sentence to run concurrently with sentences previously imposed in the Multnomah and Washington County Circuit Courts for similar conduct. If the recommended federal sentence is imposed, the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office will move to dismiss pending charges filed against Daan in the Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Daan will be sentenced on September 29, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

As part of his plea agreement, Daan has agreed to pay restitution in full to his victims and abandon his right to criminally derived proceeds and property seized by law enforcement.

Acting 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 with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, the Portland Police Bureau, West Linn Police Department, and Hillsboro Police Department. This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Oregon Man Pleads Guilty for Role in Covid-Relief Fraud Scheme - 07/01/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—An Oregon man pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to steal funds intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russell Anthony Schort, 39, of Sweet Home, Oregon, pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

Schort worked with his accomplice, Andrew Aaron Lloyd, 51, of Lebanon, Oregon, to take advantage of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an integral part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020. The CARES Act provided emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans and small businesses suffering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, on May 1, 2020, Lloyd submitted a PPP loan application under Schort’s business name, Schort Lee Construction, to U.S. Bank. Included in the loan application package was a false IRS form 944 listing 2019 wages paid of more than $3 million. The application also included a fake list of fifty-six employees and the wages purportedly paid to each employee.

Based on these false representations, U.S. Bank processed the PPP loan application, resulting in the disbursal of more than $600,000 into Schort’s bank account. Three days later, Schort transferred $307,000 to Lloyd’s bank account, who used the funds to purchase securities through an online brokerage account.

On January 5, 2021, Schort was charged by criminal complaint with wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. On June 8, 2021, he was charged by superseding criminal information with bank fraud.

Schort faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and five years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on October 21, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

As part of his plea agreement, Schort has agreed to pay no less than $294,552 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury. He will be sentenced on September 9, 2021.

On June 17, 2021, Lloyd pleaded guilty to bank fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

Acting 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 SBA Office of Inspector General and IRS Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Salem Area Methamphetamine Supplier Sentenced to Federal Prison - 06/30/21

EUGENE, Ore.—A Salem, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for providing local drug dealers in Salem and Albany, Oregon with methamphetamine and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Frank Defelice, 63, was sentenced to 8 years and four months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in 2016, following a months’ long investigation into local drug trafficking and firearms violations, Defelice was identified by local and federal law enforcement as a major supplier of methamphetamine to drug dealers in Salem and Albany. On January 27, 2017, officers stopped Defelice’s vehicle and arrested him pursuant to a state warrant. Officers found approximately 15 grams of methamphetamine under the driver’s seat of Defelice’s vehicle. Police then searched his home and recovered an additional 324 grams of methamphetamine as well as scales, drug packaging material, a drug ledger, and a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Officers also found and seized more than $37,000 in cash on Defelice’s person and in his residence.

On November 2, 2016, Defelice was charged by criminal complaint with possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Later, on June 21, 2017, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a five-count indictment charging Defelice with possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

On January 4, 2021, Defelice pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

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

This case was investigated by the Salem Police Department, Albany Police Department, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Paaso prosecuted the case.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Local Adoption Agency Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Defraud Employer and Family - 06/29/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Hillsboro, Oregon woman pleaded guilty today for engaging in a multi-year scheme to defraud her employer, a non-profit adoption and surrogacy agency operating in Oregon and Washington, and her extended family.

Melodie Ann Eckland, 55, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, filing a false tax return, and willfully failing to collect or pay payroll taxes.

According to court documents, from at least 2011 and continuing until April 2018, Eckland was employed as a bookkeeper for a local adoption and surrogacy agency. Her duties included maintaining agency books and records, managing payroll, filing employment tax returns, and paying quarterly employment taxes to the IRS. Eckland also provided financial statements to the agency’s board of directors, but did not have signature authority over the organization’s business bank account.

Eckland used her position to steal funds from the agency by making unauthorized wire transfers and writing unauthorized checks to herself. Eckland also transferred agency funds in the form of bonuses to her personal bank account. To conceal her scheme, Eckland maintained two sets of financial records. One version, which she provided to the board of directors, showed the business books as they should have been maintained. The other version showed the true payments she made to herself over the course of her employment.

To cover the money she had stolen, Eckland applied for loans from at least five lending agencies on behalf of the adoption agency, using the names of the agency’s owners without their permission. Eckland altered agency financial records to make it appear as though she owned the agency and was authorized to enter into the loan agreements. Beginning in 2016, Eckland stopped making the agency’s quarterly employment tax payments to the IRS and stopped filing employment tax returns. As a result, the agency owed more than $94,000 in past due employment taxes.

To further conceal her scheme, Eckland stole funds from a bank account opened on behalf of her deceased brother-in-law’s estate. As executor of the estate, Eckland’s husband was tasked with selling his brother’s assets, paying estate bills, and preserving the remaining funds for the benefit of his brother’s children. Eckland forged her husband’s signature on unauthorized estate checks and made unauthorized wire transfers of estate funds to herself. She sent a portion of the more than $123,000 stolen from the estate to the adoption agency’s bank account to conceal her theft of agency funds.

IRS records indicated that Eckland did not report any of the embezzled funds on her federal income tax returns for 2013, 2014, and 2017. In 2015 and 2016, she reported more than $550,000 as “other income,” but failed to pay the taxes due. Between 2013 and 2017, Eckland failed to report more than $675,000 in income, resulting in a tax loss of more than $345,000. As a result of her scheme, Eckland’s victims—including the adoption agency and its owners, her brother-in-law’s estate, and the IRS—suffered a total loss of more than $1.5 million.

On June 2, 2021, Eckland was charged by criminal information with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, filing a false tax return, and willfully failing to collect or pay payroll taxes.

Eckland faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $750,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release. She will be sentenced on November 8, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez.

As part of her plea agreement, Eckland has agreed to pay restitution of up to $2.5 million and forfeit more than $1.5 million in criminally derived proceeds seized by law enforcement.

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

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Hillsboro Police Department. 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