Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Former Corvallis lawyer pleads guilty to theft, money laundering

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A former Corvallis lawyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing money from her clients and using the funds to pay her mortgage, cover construction and landscaping projects at her home and subsidize lavish vacations, plastic surgery and other personal pursuits.

Pamela S. Hediger, 55, entered guilty pleas to attempting to evade or defeat taxes and engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from unlawful activity.

Hediger worked from 2010 to 2017 as an attorney, president and managing shareholder at Evashevski, Elliott, Cihak & Hediger law firm, focusing on personal injury cases. While at the firm, she embezzled money from the firm’s client trust and business operating accounts, according to prosecutors.

The attorney also defrauded two investors in shopping center projects in Seaside and Astoria by falsely promising high rates of return and short terms in exchange for their investments, according to the government. She converted their investment funds to her own use to support her lavish lifestyle, according to prosecutors.

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Money she embezzled helped her pay for car expenses, a timeshare, plastic surgery, a Hawaiian band for a party and credit card accounts that Hediger opened in the names of relatives and an associate, according to court records.

To cover up her fraud, Hediger falsified the law firm’s accounting records by mischaracterizing the purpose of payments, submitted false documentation to support  expenditures and lied to firm employees when questioned, prosecutors said.

Hediger, who surrendered her state bar license earlier this year, further failed to file income tax returns on nearly $2.2 million between 2011 and 2017, evading more than $471,000 in taxes due, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 10.

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