An Ocean Park woman will spend close to three years in prison for bilking an elderly St. Helens, Ore., man out of nearly $650,000 by creating a false email identity, according federal officials.
The Portland-based U.S. Attorney’s office said Lisa Mottaghi, 46, was sentenced Wednesday for wire fraud involving a “sweetheart swindle.” She first borrowed large sums of money from an Oregon man and later created a false identity to get even more money from him, officials said.
Mottaghi will spend 33 months in prison and also was ordered to spend three years of supervised released. In addition she was ordered to pay $649,536 in restitution to Gerald Voorhees, a 74-year-old widower in St. Helens.
According to the U.S. Attorney, Mottaghi began borrowing money from Voorhees in 2005 after establishing a “relationship of trust” with him. In 2009 he cut of her off but she then created a false identity, claiming to be a sister of Mottaghi’s and contacting Voorhees by email. The “sister” first promised to repay Mottaghi’s debts but then began feeding Voorhees tales of woe — including the death of a non-existent husband and relatives interfering with her inheritance. Soon, the “sister” began asking Voorhees for money as well.
Mottaghi, using the “sister” identity, manufactured a fraudulent romance with Voorhees, according to federal officials. So strongly did Voorhees believe in the “sister” that he kept trying to get her money even after his family intervened in 2011 to restrict his access to the funds. At one point he took a loan out on his car to get her $2,500 cash.
None of the nearly $650,000 was ever repaid, according to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.