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Evangelist Kicked Me to |the Curb, Woman Says

ANGLETON, Texas (CN) - A Texas evangelist tricked a disabled woman into moving in with him, defrauded her of her $270,000 personal injury settlement and then kicked her out of his house, the woman claims in court.

Marilyn Rupard sued John David Crow and the John David Crow Evangelist Association on Nov. 13, in Brazoria County Court.

Rupard claims that Crow "represented himself as a pastor and investment advisor" when she met him. At the time, Rupard was pursuing a personal-injury claim involving artificial hip implants that had disabled her.

When Crow learned about her personal-injury claim, Rupard says, he "began to pressure her to reach a settlement as soon as possible."

Crow told her "that once she got a settlement he would assist her in investing her money and that he would take care of her personal needs," according to the complaint.

In September this year, when Crow learned she was about to get "a significant settlement" for her claim, he invited her to move into his home "on the pretext that he could assist her with her daily personal care, and assist her in investing her money," the complaint states.

Rupard says she moved into Crow's house on Sept. 20.

Crow "insisted on accompanying the plaintiff to her attorney's office to pick up the settlement check," which was for $270,000 Rupard says.

She claims that Rupard took the check from her attorney, "and kept it."

With her check in his hand, Rupard says, Crow told her that if she deposited the money in "her name only" she would lose her Social Security disability and Medicaid benefits.

He offered to deposit the $270,000 in his name and put the money under the control of his evangelistic association, Rupard says.

He could only do it, however, if Rupard wrote a letter giving him authorization - so she did, Rupard says.

She claims that Crow had the letter notarized - though she did not appear in front of the notary - and that on Oct. 2 Crow deposited the check into a new Wells Fargo account under both their names and Crow's evangelistic association.

When Rupard asked if she could have a debit card for the account, Crow "said she could not have a debit card and laughed at her," according to the lawsuit.

Rupard claims Crow spent the money on lavish purchases for himself without her approval or consent, including a new Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Toyota, both with only his name on the titles.

In late October, when she complained about his spending, Crow got angry and kicked her out of his house, less than a month after he had deposited her check, Rupard says. When she demanded he return her money, he gave her $20,000 in cash and refused to return the rest, she says.

Rupard says she went back to Crow's a few days later, with the police, to get some of her personal belongings. Crow then threatened her and ordered her to withdraw a police report she had filed against him, she says. When she went to the bank the next day, she says, the manager said her name had been taken off the account.

Rupard seeks an injunction to prevent Crow from spending, or hiding, the rest of her money, and damages for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

She is represented by Hugh Plummer with Plummer & Farmer, of Houston.

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