PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 20, 2015 /Daily Offbeat/ — Rachel Lee was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for stealing $12 million from Ralph Raines Jr., the heir to an Oregon timber fortune..according to Oregon Live,
Lee pled guilty to conspiracy and tax charges in October 2014. Her daughter Porsha Lee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in U.S. District Court in January. She will be sentenced on April 15. Lee faces up to 20 years in prison.
According to Oregon Live, Rachel Lee used some of the money to buy expensive cars and take trips with her boyfriend. The government also filed charges against a man who has variously been described as Rachel Lee’s husband, brother or boyfriend, Blancey Lee. Lee will be sentenced in a few days.
Lee is a common surname used by ethnic gypsies in America. The Romanian Gypsy community is a closed and secretive group. Nasta Zorbrovich, a family friend from the San Diego, Calif., Gypsy community spoke exclusively to Daily Offbeat about the last defendant..
Gypsies keep themselves separate from mainstream society, even keeping their children from schools. Zorbrovich claimed that Blancey Lee is an unwitting “victim” in the case. She claims he is a “simple” man who was “not educated because he was kept out of school” who “can’t read or write. He can’t even spell cat.”
Daily Offbeat reported about the psychic when she was arrested. Rachel Lee, 43, of Canby, operated psychic shops in Portland, Bend and other Oregon locations.
Lee reportedly took care of Raines Sr., heir to the R. Tree Farm fortune. Her daughter Porsha wore a blonde wing and put on an accent to pose as an illegal alien from England. The Lees ingratiated themselves into Raines’ life, stealing from his accounts.
According to Zobrovich, who claims to be a concerned friend of the family, Blancey Lee left San Diego for Oregon looking for contract work after separating with his wife and children. He is a “nice guy” who would “do anything for people.” The source claims Blancey Lee deposited checks that Rachel Lee gave him “as a favor” and he didn’t ask any questions.
“Rachel took care of Blancey. So he just did what she said,” Zobrovich said. “Rachel told Blancey to open an account and gave him money to put in.”
Zobrovich said that didn’t raise any flags to the man who missed his family.
“He didn’t think anything was wrong with it. He told me both their names were on the check so how could it be illegal,” Zobrovich said.
According to reports, Porsha Lee used the money to buy expensive clothes in Beverly Hills, stay at luxury hotels in Las Vegas and lease vehicles from a Mercedes dealership in Fresno, Calif. When she was arrested, authorities found $36,000 in her underwear drawer. The media depicted Blancey Lee as an accomplice who was splurging on the cars and property. The insider claims that Blancey saw none of the money.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Maddux said Porscha Lee met Raines for the first time in 2007 at the Portland airport as Mary Marks. The psychic wore a blond wig and faked a British accent to fool Raines into believing she was a British immigrant who needed a green card.
Court documents claim ‘Marks’ bore Raines Jr’s son. According to the papers, the child belonged to another of Lee’s daughters who allowed the infant to be used as part of the conspiracy.
Marks turned out to be Porsha Lee in disguise. The indictment says there was never a marriage. Porsha Lee pretended to be Raines’ wife and negotiated the sale of at least four parcels of property for millions of dollars. Proceeds from the sales went into bank accounts controlled by Rachel Lee, according to the indictment states.
The indictment says Rachel Lee and her boyfriend bought a 2012 Bentley with the vanity license plate “MRBIG” ad a 2012 Ferrari with the vanity plate “MRBIG1.”
“He was one of several men who drove the cars,” Zobravich said. “Rachel sent him on trips to Las Vegas to keep him from knowing what was going on.
The source claims that the indictment is wrong. That Blancey Lee was kept in the dark about “any scheme to defraud anyone.”
Daily Offbeat reached out to Blancey Lee, who is fearful of repercussions for speaking about the secretive community.
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