The most shocking thing about the decade-long con that drained Ralph Raines’ fortune from $15 million to a mere $200,000 has nothing to do with the extravagant ways that thief Rachel Lee spent Raines’ money. It’s Raines’ generous response. After all that Lee and her family cost him, he still wishes them well.
As 20/20 reports, Rachel Lee first met Ralph Raines, the heir to a timber fortune, as a client while she was working as a psychic in Bend, Oregon. Lonely, longing for a family, and interested in the occult, Raines quickly fell into Lee’s trap. It wasn’t long before he considered Lee a close confidante and advisor.
What began with a steady stream of gifts soon became a situation where Lee had significant influence over all aspects of Raines’ life. Under her guidance, he purchased a mansion in Portland, Oregon as an “investment,” then allowed Lee and her family to live there. Raines hired Lee’s boyfriend to do odd jobs for him and made Lee the caretaker for his 94-year-old father.
Looking for ways to further cement her hold over Raines, Lee had her 17-year-old daughter Porsha don a blonde wig and fake British accent in order to lure Raines into a relationship and green card marriage. She even had Porsha fake a pregnancy (while “away” in another city for work) and passed off her own grandson (from a different daughter) as Porsha and Raines’ child, Giorgio Armani.
Raines eventually turned over all of his finances to Lee and the Lee family enjoyed them to the fullest. There were expensive vacations, luxury cars, shopping trips worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — and nearly all of it in Ralph Raines’ name or in his credit cards.
Lee even sold most of Raines’ tree farm, telling Raines that it was necessary to pay inheritance taxes after his father passed away, and making millions for herself in the process.
In the end, it was greed and excess that led to Lee’s downfall. The presence of a Ferrari in a small Oregon town struck a Portland police detective as more than a little odd. IRS and police investigators were eventually able to arrest Rachel Lee, her daughter Porsha, and her boyfriend on charges of money laundering and wire fraud.
Yet, even with his millions gone, Raines has no grudge against Rachel Lee or her family. On the contrary, he told prosecutors that he was not a victim of the Lees and still has positive things to say about the time he spent with them.
“I have very good memories from them. We did a lot of things together, and, you know, with my dad and Giorgio,” Raines said at Rachel Lee’s sentence hearing. “I view myself as I was married to her. I view Mary [Porsha’s assumed identity] as a real person.”
Raines has said that he wishes that he could still have a relationship with the young boy he took in and thought was his son. And despite everything, he has nothing but kind things to say about the Lee family and their future. “I want them all to get out and do well,” Raines told 20/20. “I want them to do well honestly.”