State dropping Tami Sawyer fraud case

DOJ says prosecution likely would not add time behind bars

POSTED: 1:29 PM PDT October 30, 2013    UPDATED: 2:21 PM PDT October 30, 2013 
TAMI AND KEVIN SAWYER
BEND, Ore. -

With former Bend real estate broker Tami Sawyer already serving a nine-year federal prison term on fraud and money-laundering convictions, the Oregon Department of Justice said Wednesday it has moved to dismiss another fraud case against her.

Sawyer and her husband, Kevin, a former Bend police captain, were sentenced last spring to years in prison – two for him – for fraud, money-laundering and other crimes. They also were ordered by the federal judge to pay nearly $6 million to their victims.

Another fraud case brought by the Oregon Department of Justice has been pending, involving Tami Sawyer’s handling of the Thomas Middleton Trust. The state accused her of pocketing part of the proceeds when she sold Middleton’s home in 2008, after his death, putting proceeds into her now-defunct firm, Starboard LLC, then transferring $90,000 to two of her other companies.

One of Middleton’s sons, David Middleton of Redmond, expressed dismay at learning the state was dropping its case. But state Department of Justice spokesman Michael Kron told NewsChannel 21 they had to take a “hard look” at the costs vs. likely outcome of continuing to pursue a case that likely would not add to her time behind bars.

“We understand, of course, their preference would be to get the conviction,” Kron said. “In taking a hard look at it, our sense of it was that there was no additional money to go after, and it’s very unlikely we’d get additional jail time for Mrs. Sawyer, given the fact they (the Middleton heirs) were victims in both cases.”

“It’s unlikely the court would add jail time on top of the existing (federal) sentence, so they would be served concurrently,” he added. What’s more, “If she had a state sentence that’s concurrent, she might be able to ask for a transfer, frankly, to state facilities from the federal prison near San Francisco where she’s being held.”

“There are just lots of reasons why” the case won’t be pursued, Kron said. “Though we respect and understand the family’s preference, under the circumstances, we couldn’t justify it as a use of resources.”

So far, Tami Sawyer has not weighed in on the decision in her blog written from her incarceration; the last posting, on Oct. 15, dealt with the federal government shutdown.