PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of the founders of a Northeast Portland-based pet rescue and adoption organization is now facing federal fraud conspiracy charges more than a year and a half after Multnomah County animal authorities seized more than 100 animals from the organization.
Tori Lynn Head is accused of charging Woofin Palooza customers “fake appointment fees,” failing to reimburse payment for spay and neuter services, mislabeling animal drugs, and improperly charging customers to treat sick animals, according to court documents obtained by KOIN 6 News.
Documents, which were first reported by the Oregonian/OregonLive, allege the 26-year-old and others within the organization began intentionally defrauding customers as early as November of 2019.
“From at least December 2019 through January 2021, on more than 280 occasions, defendant Tori Lynn Head and others made material misrepresentations about the health and behavior of animals to customers,” stated the federal court document, filed March 10. “Based on these material misrepresentations and others, customers paid Woofin Palooza either by credit card or check, adoption fees totaling more than $82,000.”
Authorities went on to accuse the founder of running a fraud scheme, in which the organization would charge adopting customers a “fake appointment fee” as a requirement to take pets home.
“Others at Woofin Palooza charged some customers so-called ‘appointment fees’, which totaled more than $3,475,” the complaint stated. “The ‘appointment fee’ was a sham.”
In addition to those claims, the court documents also suggest Head and others had customers pay more than $23,000 in spay and neuter fees, claiming they would later reimburse them after the procedures — but intentionally avoided repayment.
The latest accusations come as part of an ongoing list of legal trouble for Woofin Palooza, which had 117 animals seized from its property by Multnomah County Animal Services in August 2020.
Court documents show the organization’s founders were charged with a combined total of 157 counts of second-degree animal neglect, 15 counts of second-degree forgery, and 13 counts of identity theft after Multnomah County Animal Services executed a search warrant of the property and seized 117 animals in 2020.
Following the investigation, in October of 2021, KOIN 6 News reported on the Multnomah County circuit court decision to forfeit 89 of the 117 pets taken from Woofin Palooza to the care of animal services. Dozens of animals were eventually put up for adoption through the county.