Evangelist Sued by Disabled Woman Who Claims He Tricked Her Out of Settlement Money
Nothing screams "proper evangelist" quite like a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle, right? Right.
According to a report by the Courthouse News Service, Marilyn Rupard's lawsuit against John David Crow, filed in Brazoria County earlier this month, claims that Crow, a Texas evangelist-slash-investment-advisor, tricked her out of hundreds of thousands of dollars she got due to a faulty hip replacement, and spent some of that money on -- you guessed it -- a Harley.
Crow "represented himself as a pastor and investment advisor" when Rupert met him in early 2014, according to the report, which just so happened to be right around the time she was pursuing a personal-injury claim over artificial hip implants that she says left her disabled.
Rupert claims Crow soon began to pressure her to settle the claim as soon as possible. And because he was not only an evangelist but also an investment banker, says Rupert, Crow told her would help her invest that settlement money and become her caretaker.
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But Crow upped the sales tactics when he learned of the amount of the "significant settlement" Rupard was about to get for those faulty hips in late September, she says. Crow asked Rupard to move into his home so he could care for her, according to the suit, and she complied.
Shortly after moving into Crow's home, says Rupard, the evangelist insisted on going with her to pick up that big ol' $270,000 settlement check from her attorney. But once it was in her hand, says Rupard, Crow promptly took the check from her. (You can see where this is going.)
Crow then allegedly told Rupard that if she deposited that big, fat check in her bank account, she would lose out on her government benefits, like Social Security and Medicaid. The only solution? Deposit it in Crow's name, of course.
According to Rupard, Crow told her that if she deposited it in his name and allowed him to control it under his evangelist association, she would be able to keep her government benefits. To do so, Crow told her all he needed was an authorization letter, says Rupard, which she says she gave him.
Crow deposited the check into a new Wells Fargo account on October 2nd, according to the suit, which was supposedly a joint account under Crow and Rupard's names, as well as the name of Crow's evangelist association. Rupard says a battle over the money began shortly after, when she asked Crow for a debit card. According to Rupard's suit, Crow said no and laughed.
Couldn't have possibly seen that one coming, right?
And even worse, says the suit, is that while Rupard had no access to the funds, Crow did, and he allegedly used the cash to buy a Harley and a new car -- which Rupard says she never consented to -- and put everything in his name. Womp-womp.
The spending allegedly continued until late October, when Rupard says she confronted Crow and complained about the money he was spending. That's when Crow got angry, she says, and kicked her out of his house, according to the suit. (Side note: of course he got pissed. One cannot be a proper fancy-schmancy evangelist without some Tammy Faye Baker eyelashes or a motorcycle. Everyone knows that.)
But according to the Courthouse News report, Crow didn't leave Rupard completely empty-handed. She says when she demanded her money back, he handed her about $20,000 and sent her on her way, and threatened her over a police report she'd filed against him. Rupard went to the bank to retrieve the rest of those personal injury monies, says the suit, but her name was apparently no longer on the account.
Rupard is now trying to keep Crow from touching the rest of the cash -- she wants an injunction against Crow to keep him from hiding or spending the rest of her settlement -- and is also asking for damages for what she says is fraud and a breach of fiduciary duty.
The only way this story could get any better is with some faith healers. Maybe next time.
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