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Fraud found out

Woman with Canby ties sentenced in multimillion dollar fraud

A decade of deceit and fraud landed a Canby woman in jail for 100 months.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones sentenced Rachel Lee, 44 of Canby, to 100 months in prison for her lead role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and her failure to file personal income taxes.

Jones also ordered Lee to pay $15,490,978.65 in restitution to the victim, Ralph Raines Jr., the heir to a large Gaston tree farm. In addition to the prison sentence, she must serve three years of post-prison supervised release.

“Fueled by greed and a complicated web of deceit, Rachel Lee gained control of her victim, liquidated his fortune, and left him nearly penniless,” said United States Attorney Amanda Marshall. “Due to the combined efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement, the victim is now safe and financially stable. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to hold self-serving crooks accountable, protect victims, and seek full restitution.”

“This investigation is an example of outstanding achievement in respect to the investigative efforts by the Canby Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Internal Revenue Service,” said Canby Police Chief Bret Smith. “This was a complicated investigation requiring expertise and patience from everyone involved in order to bring it to a successful resolution.”

How it all started

According to documents filed with the court, Raines met Lee in 2004 when he visited her psychic shop in Bend.

Between 2004 and 2006, Lee fostered a friendship with Raines for the purpose of extracting money from him, and falsely claimed that she provided care for her dying husband.

She also falsely claimed that she assisted with bookkeeping for her husband’s business. As a result of these lies and the trust she established with the victim, Lee assumed the role as a paid caregiver to the victim’s elderly father by 2007. Trusting her to act in his best interests, the victim turned over all personal and business account control to Lee.

While controlling the victim’s finances, Lee and her family lived in a million-dollar home in the Portland West Hills purchased with the victim’s money.

As part of the fraud scheme, Rachel Lee recruited members of her family to play key roles in carrying out the deception. She and her daughter, Porsha Lee, created a fake persona named Mary Marks and introduced this character to the victim. This character wore a blond wig, glasses, a hat, and sported a British accent. Porsha Lee, as Mary Marks, met the victim and used information her mother provided her to connect with him.

She claimed to be a bookkeeper, and soon after began assisting Rachel Lee with the management of the victim’s accounts.

By 2011 the victim believed he and Mary Marks had married and had a child. The child presented to the victim as his son is actually one of Rachel Lee’s grandchildren.

Digital images reveal years of holidays, birthdays and events with the victim, Rachel Lee, Porsha Lee as Marks, and their purported child.

The liquidation begins

Between 2007 and 2011, Lee directed Raines to incrementally liquidate investment accounts totaling approximately $3.8 million dollars.

After depleting his investment accounts, Lee convinced him he owed substantial taxes and needed to sell his family’s tree farm. At Lee’s direction, the tree farm properties were sold for approximately $12.3 million dollars.

Finally, between 2010 and 2013, Lee and her co-defendants used Raines’ money to purchase at least 10 properties at a cost of approximately $3.3 million dollars. She and her family used three of the properties – in Bend, Canby and Scappoose — as psychic shops.

The arrest at last

By the time Lee was arrested in May 2014, Raines held less than $250,000 in assets under his control. As a result of the investigation, the 10 properties purchased with the victim’s money will be sold for the victim’s benefit.

Internal Revenue Service criminal agents seized approximately $1.9 million in cash from bank accounts in the name of Rachel Lee, as well as the Ferrari, the Bentley, and other items.

All federally seized assets will be returned to the victim after all defendants are sentenced. Co-defendants Porsha Lee and Blancey Lee are scheduled for sentencing in April.

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