U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Oregon Securities Broker Charged with Investment Churning and Tax Evasion - 11/21/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—A 13-count indictment was filed in federal court today charging James W. Millegan, 62, a former Oregon securities broker, with investment account churning and tax evasion.

Millegan, who currently resides in McMinnville, Oregon, owned and operated J.W. Millegan, Inc., a commission-based investment advisory business serving clients primarily located in the Portland and Salem, Oregon metropolitan areas.

According to the indictment, beginning in March 2012 and continuing until May 2017, Millegan is alleged to have churned the investment accounts of 12 different clients. Churning occurs when a securities broker engages in excessive buying and selling in a client’s account to generate commissions benefitting the broker with no reasonable expectation the client will benefit from the trading. When accounts are churned, clients are prevented from earning investment profits on the money they pay in excessive fees and commissions.

Millegan’s alleged actions generated more than $2.5 million in trading commissions and cost these 12 investors more than $4.3 million in estimated unrealized investment gains.

Additionally, between July 2006 and September 2016, Millegan is alleged to have willfully evaded payment of more than $3.3 million in personal income taxes. To conceal approximately $3.7 million in commissions from the IRS, Millegan allegedly transferred funds to hidden bank accounts and filed false financial statements.

This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, 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.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release , Indictment
Portland Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Two Children - 11/20/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Juan Carlos Ramon, 33, of Portland, was sentenced today to 180 months in federal prison followed by a life term of supervised release after sexually exploiting two minor victims, aged six and eight, using musical.ly, a social media mobile application now known as TikTok.

According to court documents, on or about June 28, 2017, Ramon began communicating with two minors using the musical.ly app. He used the screen name “@lexithetiger” and pretended to be a minor female. Ramon encouraged his victims to play a “Simon Says” type game where he would send sexually explicit photos of a minor female and ask his victims to take and send him photos imitating the positions and acts depicted. The minor victims agreed and sent Ramon a series of progressively more explicit self-produced images. A relative of the two victims later discovered the communications and reported it to law enforcement.

Ramon was arrested on November 16, 2017. He admitted that for several years he had knowingly chatted with and requested pornographic images from minor females ranging in age from 10-13 years old. Ramon had spent much of his adult life working in education, non-profit programming and family services.

On May 22, 2019, Ramon pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography.

This case was investigated by FBI Portland’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) and prosecuted by Natalie Wight, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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.

The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) conducts sexual exploitation investigations – many of them undercover – in coordination with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Portland FBI’s CETF consists of agents and task force officers from the Beaverton Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, Tigard Police Department, Hillsboro Police Department, and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. The FBI’s CETF is committed to locating and arresting those who prey on children as well as recovering underage victims of sex trafficking and child exploitation.

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 www.fbi.gov/tips.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Jacksonville, Oregon Residents Sentenced for Interstate Distribution of Marijuana, Money Laundering - 11/19/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Two former Jacksonville, Oregon residents were sentenced today in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to traffic marijuana grown in Southern Oregon to Georgia, Illinois, and North Carolina, and launder the proceeds.

Alex David Koplin, 34, was sentenced to 31 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release and Tina Marie Waterfield, 38, was sentenced to 5 years of probation.

According to court documents, in approximately 2011, Koplin moved from Georgia to Oregon to work in the marijuana industry. Within a few years, he purchased property in Jackson County, Oregon and started a marijuana farm. Koplin worked with other marijuana growers to combine harvests, broker sales, and transport marijuana from Oregon to other states. Between November 2014 and June 2016, Koplin coordinated the sale and interstate transport of approximately 260 kilograms of marijuana.

While investigating the interstate trafficking conspiracy, authorities discovered Waterfield, Koplin’s then-girlfriend, was receiving thousands of dollars in out-of-state payments to her PayPal account. Investigators later learned that Waterfield unlawfully manufactured, sold, and shipped marijuana edibles to East Coast customers and laundered the proceeds in an attempt to conceal their source. Between 2013 and 2016, Waterfield’s bank accounts showed approximately $494,000 in unexplained deposits.

In April 2017, investigators executed a federal search warrant on Koplin and Waterfield’s residence and seized marijuana plants; unprocessed cut marijuana; butane honey oil, a cannabis extract; and $44,226 in U.S. currency.

On August 19, 2019, both defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Koplin also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

As part of his plea agreement, Koplin agreed to pay $150,000 to satisfy a forfeiture money judgment. Waterfield agreed to forfeit the $44,226 in U.S. currency seized from the residence she shared with Koplin.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Medford Police Department. It was prosecuted by Steven T. Mygrant and Julia E. Jarrett, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

This case was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the department’s strategy for reducing the availability of drugs in the U.S. OCDETF was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack on drug trafficking by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Couple Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme Targeting Elderly Couple - 11/18/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland couple pleaded guilty today in federal court to defrauding a local elderly couple of approximately $1.8 million in a scheme lasting more than two years.

Ronnie Stevens aka Tim Ephrem, 50, and Tina Ephrem aka Lisa Ann Peterson, 43, each pleaded guilty today to a one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to court documents, between September 2016 and December 2018, Stevens and Ephrem conspired with one another to defraud an elderly couple, Adult Victim 1 (AV1) and Adult Victim 2 (AV2).

The scheme began in September 2016 when AV1, who was 76 years old at the time, offered a commercial trailer for sale at his business. Stevens claimed he brokered vehicle sales and could sell the trailer in exchange for a cut of the profit. Stevens did not ultimately sell the trailer, but quickly ingratiated himself with the victim.

Stevens later approached AV1 with an alleged lucrative investment opportunity. Stevens claimed that a friend named Tammy Ward was set to inherit an estate valued in excess of $100 million from her recently deceased father, but could not come up with the fees and legal costs necessary to release the estate. Stevens told AV1 that if he could advance the funds to release the estate, AV1 would receive a substantial return when the estate closed.

AV1 made multiple payments to Stevens over a period of time as Stevens told him various stories about delays and increased costs associated with the release of the estate. As part of the conspiracy, AV1 and AV2 both spoke to a woman on the phone who claimed to be Tammy Ward. Investigators revealed that Tammy Ward was a fictitious identity used by Stevens and Ephrem as part of the fraud scheme.

Between 2016 and 2018, Stevens placed more than 5,000 outgoing calls to AV1 and AV2 and, along with Ephrem, stole more than $1.8 million from their two victims. Stevens and Ephrem spent the stolen money on rent, utility bills, restaurants, cigars, luxury retail purchases and repeated travel to Las Vegas, Nevada and other locations including Hawaii, Anaheim, California, and Spirit Mountain Lodge in Grand Ronde, Oregon.

Stevens and Ephrem were arrested on January 11, 2019. They made their initial appearances in federal court the same day and were ordered detained.

Stevens and Ephrem each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. They will be sentenced on February 13, 2020 before U.S. Chief District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

As part of the plea agreement, Stevens and Ephrem have agreed to pay full restitution to their victims as determined and ordered by the court.

This case was investigated by the Tigard Police Department and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Donna Maddux and Julia Jarrett, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting nearly 10% of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness.

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

If you or someone you know needs help, abuse complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder abuse victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at www.ovc.gov.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Repeat Offender Sentenced to 60 Months in Federal Prison for Illegal Firearm Possession - 11/18/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Dante Emmanuel Hall, 32, of Portland, was sentenced today to 60 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

According to court documents, Hall was involved in an early-morning fight in a downtown Portland parking lot on September 30, 2018 that resulted in two shootings. Surveillance video obtained from an adjacent business recorded Hall arriving with a large group of people and stashing an item near the tire of a parked vehicle. This item was later determined to be a loaded Walther 9mm handgun.

The fight began when an individual attempted to punch Hall in the face. In response, Portland resident Patrick Kimmons brandished a firearm and fired three shots into the chest of Hall’s assailant. One of the rounds struck Hall in the hip. Kimmons was then shot and killed by police after running at officers with a firearm and failing to comply with their commands. Within minutes of the shooting, Hall and another subject arrived at Legacy Emanuel Hospital with gunshot wounds and police were notified.

After attempting to get a statement from a belligerent and uncooperative Hall, the responding officer applied for, obtained and executed a federal search warrant on Hall’s hospital room. The officer located and seized Hall’s cell phone hidden beneath the hospital bed mattress. A search of the phone revealed numerous photos and videos of Hall in possession of three different firearms including what appeared to be the same Walther 9mm handgun found in the parking lot where the fight and shootings occurred.

Hall has a long history of firearm-related offenses and convictions.

On September 6, 2012, he pleaded guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Four days after his release from prison after serving just eight months, Hall was involved in a gang-related shooting during which he fired a handgun outside a Portland strip club. He was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in Multnomah County Circuit Court and sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Within months of his release from state prison and recommencing federal supervised release, Hall once again violated his supervision terms. On August 9, 2017, he was arrested riding in a car with a known Rollin’ 60s gang member who was driving and eluded police. As a result, on October 19, 2017, he was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for the violation with no re-imposition of supervised release.

Within 48 hours of his final release from federal prison, Hall possessed a firearm and was involved in a June 24, 2018 shooting outside a bar in Vancouver, Washington. The shooting injured an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. This shooting occurred approximately three months prior to the September 2018 shooting in downtown Portland.

On April 25, 2018, Hall pleaded guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau. It was prosecuted by Leah K. Bolstad and Thomas H. Edmonds, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

The 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
Newberg Man Sentenced to 9 Months in Federal Prison for Threatening School Shooting at California College - 11/18/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Vasiliy V. Barbiyeru, Jr., 25, of Newberg, Oregon, was sentenced today to nine months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for transmitting threatening interstate communications.

According to court documents, on October 7, 2017, Barbiyeru sent a threatening email to several individuals and groups at Deep Springs College in Big Pine, California where he had been denied admission. Barbiyeru had previously posted a threat directed at the college on the 4chan message board and had sent similar threatening emails to the college’s president and other associated persons.

On March 1, 2019, Barbiyeru was charged with first degree disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in Clackamas County Circuit Court after making similar threats of violence to Lake Oswego High School. Barbiyeru was arrested a short time later by the Lake Oswego Police Department. His state charges are still pending.         

On August 22, 2019, Barbiyeru pleaded guilty to one count of threatening interstate communications.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Newberg and McMinnville Police Departments and was being prosecuted by Hannah Horsley, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Attorney General Announces Launch of Project Guardian--A Nationwide Strategic Plan to Reduce Gun Violence - 11/13/19

Initiative emphasizes enforcing gun prohibitions based on domestic violence convictions and mental health denials

WASHINGTON—Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Project Guardian, a new initiative designed to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws across the country. Specifically, Project Guardian focuses on investigating, prosecuting, and preventing gun crimes.

Reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearms laws have always been among the Department’s highest priorities. In order to develop a new and robust effort to promote and ensure public safety, the Department reviewed and adapted some of the successes of past strategies to curb gun violence. Project Guardian draws on the Department’s earlier achievements, such as the “Triggerlock” program, and it serves as a complementary effort to the success of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In addition, the initiative emphasizes the importance of using all modern technologies available to law enforcement to promote gun crime intelligence.

“Gun crime remains a pervasive problem in too many communities across America. Today, the Department of Justice is redoubling its commitment to tackling this issue through the launch of Project Guardian,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Building on the success of past programs like Triggerlock, Project Guardian will strengthen our efforts to reduce gun violence by allowing the federal government and our state and local partners to better target offenders who use guns in crimes and those who try to buy guns illegally.”

“We are pleased to join Attorney General Barr in announcing Project Guardian—a critical initiative aimed at reducing gun violence in communities across the country. Oregonians are no strangers to the heartbreaking impact gun violence has on the lives of its many victims. Enough is enough; continued violence on our streets is simply unacceptable,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We will work closely with our Justice Department colleagues to ensure a speedy rollout of Project Guardian so it can begin saving Oregon lives immediately. I believe it will.”

“ATF has a long history of strong partnerships in the law enforcement community,” said Acting Director Regina Lombardo. “Make no mistake, the women and men of ATF remain steadfast to our core mission of getting crime guns off of our streets. ATF and U.S. Attorneys nationwide will leverage these partnerships even further through enhanced community outreach initiatives and coordination with local, state, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors to cut the pipeline of crime guns from those violent individuals who seek to terrorize our communities. Project Guardian will enhance ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence, to include identifying, investigating and prosecuting those involved in the straw purchases of firearms, lying on federal firearms transaction forms, and those subject to the mental health prohibition of possessing firearms.”

Project Guardian’s implementation is based on five principles:

1. Coordinated Prosecution

Federal prosecutors and law enforcement will coordinate with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors to consider potential federal prosecution for new cases involving a defendant who: a) was arrested in possession of a firearm; b) is believed to have used a firearm in committing a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime prosecutable in federal court; or c) is suspected of actively committing violent crime(s) in the community on behalf of a criminal organization.

2. Enforcing the Background Check System

United States Attorneys, in consultation with the Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in their district, will create new, or review existing, guidelines for intake and prosecution of federal cases involving false statements (including lie-and-try, lie-and-buy, and straw purchasers) made during the acquisition or attempted acquisition of firearms from Federal Firearms Licensees.

Particular emphasis is placed on individuals convicted of violent felonies or misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, individuals subject to protective orders, and individuals who are fugitives where the underlying offense is a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; individuals suspected of involvement in criminal organizations or of providing firearms to criminal organizations; and individuals involved in repeat denials.

3. Improved Information Sharing

On a regular basis, and as often as practicable given current technical limitations, ATF will provide to state law enforcement fusion centers a report listing individuals for whom the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has issued denials, including the basis for the denial, so that state and local law enforcement can take appropriate steps under their laws.

4. Coordinated Response to Mental Health Denials

Each United States Attorney will ensure that whenever there is federal case information regarding individuals who are prohibited from possessing a firearm under the mental health prohibition, such information continues to be entered timely and accurately into the United States Attorneys’ Offices’ case-management system for prompt submission to NICS. ATF should engage in additional outreach to state and local law enforcement on how to use this denial information to better assure public safety.

Additionally, United States Attorneys will consult with relevant district stakeholders to assess feasibility of adopting disruption of early engagement programs to address mental-health-prohibited individuals who attempt to acquire a firearm. United States Attorneys should consider, when appropriate, recommending court-ordered mental health treatment for any sentences issued to individuals prohibited based on mental health.

5. Crime Gun Intelligence Coordination

Federal, state, local, and tribal prosecutors and law enforcement will work together to ensure effective use of the ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Centers (CGICs), and all related resources, to maximize the use of modern intelligence tools and technology. These tools can greatly enhance the speed and effectiveness in identifying trigger-pullers and finding their guns, but the success depends in large part on state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners sharing ballistic evidence and firearm recovery data with the ATF.

Federal law enforcement represents only about 15% of all law enforcement resources nationwide. Therefore, partnerships with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the communities they serve are critical to addressing gun crime. The Department recognizes that sharing information with our state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners at every level will enhance public safety, and provide a greater depth of resources available to address gun crime on a national level.

For more information on Project Guardian, see the Attorney General’s memorandum at: https://www.justice.gov/ag/project-guardian-memo-2019/download.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Umatilla Man Sentenced to 37 Months in Federal Prison for Brutal Assault of Significant Other - 11/12/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Jared Elias Case, 26, of Umatilla, Oregon, was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release after repeatedly assaulting his significant other.

According to court documents, on July 19, 2018, Case punched his then-significant other in the face, breaking her nose and causing other injuries. Case was charged and later convicted of fourth-degree misdemeanor assault in Umatilla County Circuit Court and a domestic abuse protection order was issued by the Umatilla Tribal Court. The protection order prohibited Case from having contact with the crime victim pending a full hearing.

One month later, on August 22, 2018, Case went to a party with the crime victim in violation of the protection order. He began drinking and started arguing with her. While she was seated in a chair, Case put his hands around her neck and strangled her until she blacked out. When she regained consciousness, she got up to leave. Case followed her outside, grabbed her by the shoulders and repeatedly punched her in the face until she again lost consciousness. Case fled, abandoning the crime victim who was lying unconscious in a driveway. He later turned himself in to the Umatilla Tribal Police Department.

On July 9, 2019, Case pleaded guilty to one count of assault by strangulation. As part of his plea agreement, Case will pay restitution his victim as ordered by the court. A restitution hearing has been scheduled for February 10, 2020.

This case was investigated by the Umatilla Tribal Police Department and FBI Portland’s Safe Trails Task Force. It was prosecuted by Jennifer Martin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Domestic violence is a serious violent crime that includes both physical and emotional abuse. It is frequently hidden from public view. Many survivors suffer 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 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Many communities throughout the country have 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 violence. Please call 1-844-762-8483 or visit www.strongheartshelpline.org for more information.

The Safe Trails Task Force (STTF) unites FBI and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in a collaborative effort to combat the growth of crime in Indian Country. STTF allows participating agencies to combine limited resources and increase investigative coordination in Indian Country to target violent crime, drugs, gangs and gaming violations.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Beaverton Man Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Assaulting Federal Task Force Officers With Explosive Device - 11/08/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Jason Paul Schaefer, 28, of Beaverton, Oregon, was sentenced today to 40 years in federal prison and 5 years’ supervised release for detonating an improvised explosive device on October 11, 2017, assaulting two members of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

            In May 2019, Schaefer was convicted after a six-day trial of two counts of assaulting a federal officer and one count each of carrying and using a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, carrying and using an explosive during the commission of a federal felony, unlawful transport of explosive materials, possession of an unregistered destructive device and being a felon in possession of explosives.

            “The government may never fully know why Mr. Schaefer amassed a large quantity of dangerous precursor chemicals and the components needed to make a large, remote-detonating bomb. What we do know is that on October 11, 2017, he tried to kill two federal task force officers attempting to make a lawful arrest,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the JTTF agents and partners and our prosecutors for protecting our community by taking this violent criminal off the streets. This prosecution affirms the critical public safety mission of the JTTF and the need for continued and active participation of all federal, state and local partners.”

            “Jason Schaefer’s sentence is commensurate to the danger he posed to his neighbors in the community. The officers and agents of the FBI’s JTTF hope this sentence will serve as a deterrent to others who may consider dangerous or violent illegal actions,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

            “The Oregon State Police is proud of the collaboration among our local and federal partners on the JTTF, with our mutual goal to keep Oregon safe. We are grateful that our troopers and taskforce officers were not seriously injured during this rapidly developing event. OSP is also appreciative of the time and attention of the U.S. Attorney's Office to seek justice in this case,” said Travis Hampton, Superintendent of the Oregon State Police.

            “The Washington County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the JTTF and partnering agencies for their hard work in this investigation. We value these important public safety partnerships that work tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” said Pat Garrett, Washington County Sheriff.

            According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on or about September 21, 2017, FBI Portland determined that Schaefer had purchased several items that could be used to make a bomb. Schaefer was known to federal investigators after an April 2017 incident where he threatened to kill his landlords and used mercury to deter people from entering an apartment garage he rented in Beaverton. The incident led to Schaefer being arrested and prosecuted for illegally possessing body armor.

            On October 11, 2017, federal agents and task force officers executed a search warrant on Schaefer’s Beaverton apartment. Schaefer arrived that morning at a meeting with his probation officer to find two federal agents there to meet him. They notified Schaefer of the warrant and asked if his property was booby trapped. Schaeffer told the agents that it was not and the search commenced.

            After a brief conversation with the agents, Schaefer departed in a white sport utility vehicle. The agents followed Schaefer, but lost him. Meanwhile, agents searching Schaefer’s apartment found several explosive precursors and electronic matches. While the search was ongoing, Schaefer returned to the apartment and threatened a task force officer before fleeing.

            Two task force officers pursued Schaefer who soon got stuck in traffic. The officers approached Schaefer on foot and ordered him out of the vehicle. Schaefer did not comply, threatened to kill the officers and ignited an explosive device concealed in a cigarette pack. The blast caused significant injury to Schaefer’s hand and sent debris flying into one of the officers, who suffered bodily injury. Following the explosion, Schaefer was arrested and officers found a second cigarette pack containing explosives in his vehicle.

            This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. It was investigated by the Portland JTTF. The Portland JTTF includes FBI special agents and more than a dozen state and local law enforcement officers.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Schaefer-Final.pdf
Hoover Criminal Gang Member Lorenzo Jones Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy - 11/07/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced today that Lorenzo Laron Jones, 46, a Portland resident and senior member of the Hoover Criminal Gang, has been indicted for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that caused the shooting deaths of two Portland men.

Jones is charged with racketeering conspiracy and two counts each of murder in aid of racketeering, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and causing death through the use of a firearm.

The superseding indictment alleges that beginning in June 1989, Jones engaged in a 30-year pattern of violent racketeering activity for the purpose of maintaining and increasing his position in the Hoover Criminal Gang, a criminal enterprise engaged in racketeering in California, Oregon, Washington and elsewhere.

Jones is alleged to have murdered Ascensio Genchi Garcia on July 19, 1998 and Wilbert Butler on September 17, 2017, both in Portland. Additionally, he is accused of attempting to murder six other people, possessing stolen firearms, and distributing cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Jones made his initial appearance in federal court today and was detained pending a four-week jury trial before U.S. Chief District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

Jones is named alongside fellow Hoover gang members Ronald Clayton Rhodes, 34, and Javier Fernando Hernandez, 23, both of Portland, in the superseding indictment unsealed today. Rhodes and Hernandez were previously charged with murder in aid of racketeering, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and causing death through the use of a firearm for the December 16, 2015 murder of Portland resident Kyle Polk.

Jones, Rhodes and Hernandez will be tried together and each face a maximum sentence of death or life in prison.

According to the indictment, the Hoovers are a criminal street gang operating in Oregon, and are known to engage in acts of violence including murder, assault, robbery, sex trafficking and the distribution of narcotics. The Hoovers originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s and established a presence in Portland in the early 1980s. The gang has a loose hierarchical structure in which members have different amounts of power and influence based on age and gang activity. To maintain status and increase one’s position in the gang, members are expected to carry out violence on behalf of the enterprise.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Gresham Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office 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.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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 , Timeline
Notice of Press Conference - 11/07/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, will hold a press conference today with Portland law enforcement partners.

Date: Thursday, November 7, 2019

Time: Camera preset at 1:30PM. Conference to begin between 2:00-2:15PM. Last entry at 2:00PM.


U.S. Attorney’s Office – Sixth Floor – Main Conference Room

Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse

1000 SW Third Ave., Suite 600

Portland, OR 97204


All credentialed media are invited to attend and required to display valid photo identification to gain entry into the courthouse and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Please limit attendance to a maximum of three individuals from any one media outlet.


Credentialed media are invited to use camera and audio equipment during the press conference. Livestreaming is permitted, but public Wi-Fi is not available. Use of camera and audio equipment is otherwise prohibited in the federal courthouse.

Fugitive and Tax Fraud Promoter Captured and Set to Serve His 10 Year Prison Sentence - 11/06/19

WASHINGTON – A fugitive and former Hillsboro, Oregon, tax fraud promoter, who had been on the run since he was supposed to start serving a 10 year prison sentence, was caught in Arizona and apprehended on Nov. 1, 2019, by the U.S. Marshals Service, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Winston Shrout, 70, was convicted by a jury in April 2017 of submitting fraudulent financial instruments to banks and the U.S. Treasury, and failing to file income tax returns. According to the evidence presented at his trial and sentencing, from approximately 2008 through 2015, Shrout created and submitted more than 300 such fraudulent instruments. He also held seminars and private meetings to promote and market the use of these instruments to pay off debts, including federal taxes. Shrout sold recordings of his seminars, templates for fraudulent financial instruments and other materials through his website.

In addition, Shrout did not file his 2009 through 2014 tax returns despite earning substantial income from seminars, licensing fees associated with the sale of his products, and annual pension payments. Shrout admitted during trial that he had not paid income tax for at least 20years.

On Oct. 22, 2018, Judge Robert E. Jones sentenced Shrout to 10 years in prison, to serve five years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the IRS. Shrout failed to report to prison as ordered in March 2019, and was a fugitive until his arrest late last week. Shrout appeared in district court and will be transferred to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison term.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended the diligent investigation of the U.S. Marshals Service in Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona, for bringing Shrout to justice. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman also commended special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, Trial Attorneys Stuart Wexler and Lee Langston of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, and Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Bounds, for their support during the investigation, prosecution, and apprehension of the defendant in this case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

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Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities Event Draws Hundreds of Community and Law Enforcement Leaders - 11/01/19

Fourth annual event held on October 24, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore.—More than 350 law enforcement officials and community members came together for the fourth-annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities event on October 24, 2019, hosted by the Muslim Educational Trust (MET) in Tigard, Oregon, marking the event series’ largest gathering to-date.

A video of the event is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n6WkYAsCp0.

This year’s theme was Confronting Hate. Criminal justice and community leaders shared perspectives and engaged in discussions on how to best respond to and prevent future hate-motivated incidents and crimes.

Panelists with diverse community perspectives discussed their personal experiences with hate-motivated incidents and crimes. The event concluded with a listening session and facilitated discussion.

Presenters included leaders and subject matter experts from the Western States Center, Portland United Against Hate, Coalition of Communities of Color, Coalition Against Hate Crimes, Oregon District Attorney’s Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, Oregon Attorney General’s Office, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and others who presented information reviewing recent racial violence trends and data from our community as well as legal and enforcement efforts at the local, state and federal levels.

The Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities event series brings leaders from public safety and civil society organizations together to build and strengthen trust with one another and to cultivate that trust within the communities served. The annual event has been held at MET since its inception in the fall of 2016.

The event series is hosted by the Muslim Educational Trust, and jointly sponsored by Washington County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s Offices, Washington County, City of Beaverton, City of Hillsboro, City of Portland New Portlander Commission, City of Lake Oswego, Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office, Latino Network, Vision Action Network, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Muslim Community Center of Portland, Korean American Coalition, New Portlanders Foundation, Tigard Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s Offices, Urban League of Portland and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

If you have media inquiries or would like to book interviews with steering committee members, please contact Stephen Mayer of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office: Stephen_Mayer@co.washington.or.us, 971-708-8219.

Media outlets are also welcome to contact the following steering committee members directly:

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Portland Nurse Pleads Guilty to Heroin Trafficking - 10/31/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Rene Elene Griffin Nunn, 60, a resident of Vancouver, Washington pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances. At the time of the offense, Nunn was a registered nurse at Adventist Medical Center in Portland.

According to court documents, in February 2018, Nunn drove from Vancouver to Portland with approximately 93 grams of heroin in her purse. Based on a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF), Nunn was located and arrested driving into Portland.

Nunn faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release. She will be sentenced on February 3, 2020 by U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez.

This case was investigated by the DEA and CCITF and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Accountant and Marijuana Proprietor Sentenced to 51 Months in Federal Prison for Fraud and Tax Evasion - 10/24/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Nathan Wheeler, 43, a certified public accountant (CPA) residing in Portland, was sentenced today to 51 months in federal prison and 3 years’ supervised release for wire fraud and tax evasion.

            According to court documents, since 2012, Wheeler owned and operated Bridge City Advisors LLC, an accounting firm that provided investment and legal services to clients throughout the Portland area. Wheeler used his position as a CPA to persuade clients to invest in various real estate development projects. Instead of providing promised rates of return and real estate security interests, Wheeler converted his clients’ money to his own use, living an extravagant lifestyle he could not otherwise afford and building a large marijuana business.

            “Mr. Wheeler had an important fiduciary responsibility to act in the best financial interests of his clients. Instead, he repeatedly lied to and stole from them,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “His theft from two minor children who had recently endured the loss of their father is uniquely cold-hearted. The children’s simple requests for funds to cover routine expenses like braces were met with callous lies. My hope is that Mr. Wheeler’s prosecution and time behind bars will offer some measure of solace to his many victims.”

            “As a CPA, Mr. Wheeler presented himself to investors as a reliable financial advisor in order to receive investment funds, and yet he greedily diverted those funds for his own investment interests. Additionally, Mr. Wheeler knew his obligation to accurately report income on a tax return, but instead chose to file a false personal tax return to evade his tax obligation,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will hold accountable licensed CPAs who mislead and violate the trust of the public and the profession for their own selfish interests.”

To carry out his scheme, Wheeler would create limited liability corporations (LLCs) as an investment vehicle on behalf of his clients and name himself a member. He would then open bank accounts for his clients and attempt to gain signing authority so he could transfer funds independently.

            One of Wheeler’s first victims was a C Trust or “minor’s trust” established for the benefit of two children whose father died in April 2011. Wheeler was named a trustee of the C Trust and facilitated the sale of the father’s business six months after his death. Unbeknownst to the children or their representatives, Wheeler used the proceeds to purchase a large residential real estate development in Washington State called Trotter Downs in his own name. Despite being the primary source of funding to purchase the development, the children were left with no ownership lien on the property. Further, Wheeler repeatedly refused to pay for the children’s expenses, falsely claiming that the funds were frozen because of a lawsuit involving their deceased father.

            A second Wheeler victim was a silver medalist for the U.S. Olympic snowboarding team who had created his own line of snowboarding equipment. Wheeler managed to gain signing authority on some of the victim’s bank accounts and made multiple unauthorized transfers of funds to his own accounts. In just two years, Wheeler embezzled more than $962,000 from the athlete victim.

Many of Wheeler’s victims were retirees who entrusted him with their life savings. One retired victim, a former law enforcement officer, invested more $236,000 with Wheeler. Wheeler quickly redirected these funds for his own use. Shortly thereafter, he used $27,500 of the victim’s money to purchase an engagement ring for his fiancé.

In total, between 2011 and 2014, Wheeler defrauded his clients of more than $4.4 million. The government’s financial investigation revealed that within hours or days of receiving client investment funds, Wheeler would redirect the money to various personal uses.

Wheeler spent a large portion of the money he stole from his clients’ investment assets at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas, Nevada, at strip clubs, on travel and on expenses related to his marijuana grow operations. Wheeler is a former part owner of Club Rouge, a strip club in Downtown Portland.

            U.S. District Court Judge Karin J. Immergut postponed the hearing regarding restitution to his former clients and to the IRS until January 10, 2020.

The government filed a civil forfeiture action on the remaining 25 plots in Trotter Downs that Wheeler had not yet sold. This action prevented Wheeler from continuing to sell off plots for his own benefit.

            On May 24, 2018, Wheeler pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and attempting to evade or defeat his tax obligations.

            This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Portland Police Bureau,  and prosecuted by Michelle Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. The related civil forfeiture case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katie de Villiers.

Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Wheeler-Final.pdf