Couple pleads guilty in case with 166 witnesses

A Medford couple pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court this morning to crimes related to a scheme that had them sending their children door-knocking for money.

Prosecutors subpoenaed 166 witnesses in the case against Carly and Laramie Torres. The couple and their children canvassed neighborhoods in Medford, Ashland and Eagle Point from late 2006 through 2007 asking for donations to send Carly Torres' oldest daughter to volleyball camp.

But instead of sending the girl to camp, the couple spent the money on weekend trips to the movies, monster truck rallies and other things, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Loomis.

Carly Torres, 35, pleaded guilty before Judge Ray White to unlawful use of a computer and four counts of second-degree theft. Her husband, Laramie Torres, 33, pleaded guilty to one count each of second- and third-degree theft, said Loomis.

Loomis said the Torreses kept binders full of names of victims who gave amounts ranging from pocket change to $40 checks. The total did not appear to be more than a few thousand dollars. But the impact on the victims' sense of betrayal and the damage done to legitimate organizations that need donations may be far-reaching, she said.

Carly Torres altered fliers handed out to victims, changing the dates of the camp and the amount of money needed to attend, Loomis said. The mother pleaded guilty to the felony computer crime in exchange for having multiple other counts of theft dropped as a part of the plea agreement, Loomis said.

Sentencing is expected in the first week of November.

— Sanne Specht

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