News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Lyons mechanic liable in fraud lawsuit

A local mechanic with a history of legal judgments by clients who claimed they were defrauded has lost a new lawsuit, while the business and his wife have settled with the plaintiff.

Godofredo “Lee” Quiroz, of Jefferson, with Canyon Auto Service in Lyons was ordered to pay $13,375 April 24 in Marion County Circuit Court to Salem resident Rachel Wolf. Quiroz was found in default after he did not reply to an amended complaint filed by Wolf.

The business and wife Tamara Quiroz agreed to pay $8,300 to Wolf in a stipulated judgment approved May 17. Though the judgment allowed an eight-month payment plan, Tamara Quiroz paid the sum in full that day.

Tamara Quiroz and her business were represented by Salem attorney Arthur Cummins, while Lee Quiroz and Wolf were self-represented.

The Canyon Weekly reached out to defendants for comment but received none by press time.

During an interview in August of 2022, Lee Quiroz told The Canyon Weekly Wolf was a disgruntled former client and claimed his business dealings have always been above-board. He said the many lawsuits by former clients were the result of customers with unrealistic expectations and poor communication skills.

In her lawsuit, Wolf claimed Lee Quiroz repeatedly defrauded customers, including herself, by accepting payment for jobs he did not intend to complete. She was also ready to argue defendants repeatedly dissolved business entities and formed new ones to avoid accountability.

Lee Quiroz’ legal history includes five prior lawsuits filed in Oregon by six former clients since 2009, resulting in $178,000 in judgments. Allegations ranged from substandard engine rebuilds to the theft and mishandling of custom parts intended for upgrades.

Wolf first sued in 2019 for a botched engine replacement that resulted in a critical engine failure. Wolf later learned she was charged for parts that were never installed.

She was awarded full damages of $8,180 and her attempt to collect on the judgment gave Wolf access to defendants’ banking records. With her background as a forensic bookkeeper, Wolf allegedly found evidence of crimes including negotiating bad checks, falsifying business records, obtaining execution of documents by deception, and tax evasion. 

These allegations became the basis for her most recent lawsuit, filed in July of 2022.

One event central to her argument was in 2019 when Lee Quiroz suddenly closed Valley Auto Works, a shop he operated in Keizer. Former employee Patrick Neufeld then opened Valley Auto at the same location with Lee Quiroz as an employee. 

Lee Quiroz admitted during federal bankruptcy proceedings this was done to avoid paying creditors like Wolf. In 2021 Judge Peter McKittrick ruled Valley Auto was wrongfully used to hide assets and denied Lee Quiroz bankruptcy protection.

Neufeld was named in Wolf’s 2022 lawsuit. After he failed to reply, a default judgment of $13,710 was entered against him Oct. 4, 2022.

The current shop, Canyon Auto Service, was also central to Wolf’s claims.

Lee Quiroz registered the business Nov. 2, 2021, the day before his bankruptcy trial. After being denied protection by McKittrick, Lee Quiroz refiled Nov. 4, 2021, with himself as registered agent and Tamara Quiroz as owner, and filed again 12 days later with Tamara Quiroz as registered agent and owner.

The couple claimed in court records this was the result of a clerical error and Tamara Quiroz has always been the lawful owner. Wolf alleged in her suit this was the latest in an ongoing pattern of Lee Quiroz closing businesses to dodge creditors.

Since 2007, Lee Quiroz has opened and closed five businesses in Mill City, Tacoma, Keizer and Salem, including three that ended after evictions.

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