Claudia Renee Dugan of Hermiston pleaded not guilty Monday to 174 counts of fraud and theft.
Umatilla County sheriff’s detective Kacey Ward investigated the case and said Dugan is prison-bound.
Ward said there are about 15 victims in the case and Dugan’s thefts totaled almost $6,000. He said his investigation covered from August 2016 to August 2017, then discovered her crimes stretched into late 2017.
Dugan worked for several employers, most in elderly care, he said, and if she lost one job she moved to another. She used her cellphone to take photos of the front and back of credit cards belonging to the residents, he said, and that gave her all the information she needed to use the cards to put funds onto the accounts of inmates at the Umatilla County Jail and in state prisons.
The Oregon Department of Corrections caught on to her scheme, he said, and banned her from its facilities. She then tried clear her name using fake court documents.
“She actually forged a judge’s signature,” Ward said. “That compounded things a bit.”
Dugan copied the electronic signature of a judge from legitimate court documents onto her fake one, he said, a move that amounted to a felony in Oregon.
Court records show Circuit Judge Dan hill recused himself from the case due to a conflict.
Records also show Dugan faced 25 counts of theft and fraud in August 2017. Ward said he asked the state to dismiss that case when he found a greater number of crimes. He also said police departments in Hermiston and Pendleton investigated Dugan, and he brought those cases in with his under one large umbrella.
Ward said the investigation took months and required multiple subpoena and search warrants for financial records, particularly from Telmate, the company that provides phone communications to inmates at the jail and state prisons. Telmate proved difficult to work with, he said, sometimes sending information in a minuscule font or without any context, which required more follow-up.
The Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office charged Dugan with dozens of counts each for theft, identity theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and unlawful credit card payments, according to the 39-page indictment.
Circuit Judge Eva Temple set Dugan’s bail at $100,000. Her next court hearing is June 11 at the Stafford Hansell Government Building, Hermiston.