An Oregon City police officer has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his work in hunting down and breaking up a fraud ring linked to nearly 40 victims — including some Clackamas County residents who had been impacted by the destructive wildfires last September.
The case began when Officer Danny Garrett found an unoccupied stolen vehicle while on patrol in October 2020. During an inventory of the car, he found a significant number of stolen passports, social security cards, checkbooks, birth certificates and pieces of mail.
Garrett connected the stolen vehicle to a suspect in Oregon City, and a later search of their apartment yielded a computer and other devices being used to print fraudulent checks, the Oregon City Police Department says.
The officer obtained a search warrant for the computer and found further evidence of identity theft and fraud, according to OCPD.
From there, Garrett conducted an extensive investigation, ultimately linking the suspect’s criminal activity to a series of burglaries that occurred in southern Clackamas County while residents were evacuated due to the Labor Day wildfires.
In the course of his investigation, Garret uncovered a fraud ring that included at least 37 victims in Clackamas County, Salem, Gresham, West Linn, Texas, and Nebraska.
OCPD says Garrett continued his regular duties as a patrol officer and field training officer while conducting the complex investigation over several weeks — seeing the case through to its conclusion rather than dumping it on detectives.
Garrett’s hard work resulted in the arrest of the suspect at the center of the fraud ring, 30-year-old Oregon City resident Morgan Rhaine LeClair, who faces more than a dozen criminal charges, including identity theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, mail theft and forgery.
“Fraud cases are often tedious and require extensive follow-up,” a release from the Oregon City Police Department said. “Officer Garrett showed tenacity and determination, bringing closure to numerous victims of identity theft.”
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