West Linn man arrested for $2 million in wire fraud, money laundering
A West Linn man has been arrested by the criminal investigation branch of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the FBI on charges of wire fraud and money laundering. The scams amounted to more than $2 million.
While in the custody of the U.S. Marshall Service, David Shelofsky, a former strength and conditioning coach for the West Linn High School football team, appeared virtually before a magistrate judge June 5. He is scheduled to be arraigned by the duty magistrate judge Aug. 17.
The arrest was first reported on Twitter by Michael Tobin, an Oregon journalist.
According to an affidavit, Shelofsky took advantage of three victims by gaining their trust and establishing agreements regarding property transactions.
"In each instance, victims loaned Shelofsky money which he promised to pay back within short periods of time and were given what they were told was security for their loans," IRS Special Agent Abraham Smith wrote in the affidavit. "To date, none of the loans have been paid back and the security initially promised has not been provided or could ever be provided."
These scams are not Shelofsky's first run in with finance law. In 2007 he was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling $1.5 million.
According to Smith's affidavit, one of the victims of Shelofsky's most recent fraud scams was a Los Angeles-based company called 3396 Group LLC. The affidavit describes an agreement between Shelofsky and 3396 Group for the LLC to pay for eight residential lots in a Bend, Oregon subdivision, which Shelofksy would prepare for development and sale.
After receiving nearly $671,000 from an employee of 3396 Group, Shelofsky purchased the eight lots in Bend. As he sold the lots, acquiring $738,795, Shelofksy told 3396 Group he was having trouble selling the lots because of complications with a homeowners association.
In his next alleged scam detailed in the affidavit, Shelofsky took advantage of a terminally ill Portland-area man. In exchange for a $400,000 loan, Shelofsky promised to pay the man $1.25 million (also covering a previous loan the man had paid to Shelofsky's lawyer, plus interest) within six months.
Shelofsky entered this agreement in June 2018. He promised to pay much of the loan back with deeds to properties he owned in West Linn that were being subdivided. However, according to the affidavit, Shelofsky did not own the lots; instead they belonged to Thomas McWeeney, a former business partner who hadn't spoken to Shelofsky in about a year at the time he was interviewed and claimed Shelofsky owed him around $10,000 from a prior loan.
Over the next two years, the affidavit describes how Shelofsky continued to dupe the man into believing he owned the West Linn lots, was in the process of selling them and would l pay him back with the money from the sales.
Text messages provided by Shelofsky's victim to investigators show that Shelofsky continued to lead the man on, promising repayment as the man underwent chemotherapy.
Shelofsky's third victim cited in the affidavit made three loans to Shelofsky totaling $690,000. Shelofsky used these loans to purchase property at 455 Rosemont Road, known as "The Hill Property."
However, the victim later learned that Shelofsky did not use any of his own money to purchase the property; instead, he secured a $900,000 loan from a hard money lender in Springfield, Oregon.
"Despite several promises from Shelofsky to provide a deed to The Hill Property for the $690,000 he loaned Shelofsky, (the victim) never received one," the affidavit says.
The victim eventually acquired a deed to the property, only to learn that it had more than $1.1 million in liens attached to it which effectively eliminated any value it might have had.
"(The man) came to trust Shelofsky considerably and felt confident in the representations Shelofsky gave him," the affidavit states. "During this same time, (the man) stated that he was going through one of the darkest periods of his life when he started to confide in Shelofsky. He had just lost his job of 15 years and was in the middle of a separation with his fiancée, which weighed heavy on him."
Former WLHS head football coach Chris Miller, who coached for the last six years, leaving after the 2019 season, declined to be interviewed for this article. WLHS Principal Gregory Neuman said Shelofsky, who coached in a volunteer capacity, has not worked with the team since the fall season and would not be volunteering at WLHS again.
In June of last year, Shelofsky used $138,000 from one of the man's loans to purchase a boat as a gift for someone. This, according to the affidavit, was what triggered the money laundering charge.
Around the same time, Shelofsky asked that victim why he did not have a boat. The man said he would like one but was prioritizing paying for his children's college.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.