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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Doubts God|Made Them Do It

ST. GEORGE, Utah (CN) - Citing "a sign from God," a married couple defrauded a member of their church of $112,000 and the wife used some of the money for a boob job, the 64-year-old woman claims in court.

Jolene Drake sued Michael Dee Madsen and his wife Indra Madsen, in Washington County Court. She also sued two other Madsens, Geoffrey and Alan, and two Utah LLCs, Dammeron Land, and Poseidon.

Drake, a clerical worker, says she never went to college, has no training in financial matters, and that when the Madsens learned she had more than $100,000 in a retirement account, they decided to snatch it.

"As part of their scheme, Indra befriended Jolene in their church congregation and worked to gain her trust," the complaint states.

"Jolene confided in Indra that she had a significant individual retirement account through Intermountain Health Care ('IHC') and that she was concerned that her retirement account would somehow be negatively affected because she no longer worked for IHC.

"Indra capitalized on Jolene's concerns and represented to Jolene that Michael was a financial adviser or manager and could assist Jolene in 'safeguarding' her retirement funds."

Drake claims the Madsens told her that "Michael had a securities license," though he does not. She says the Madsens invited her to their home and said they could "protect" her money.

"Michael misrepresented to Jolene that he could put her IHC retirement funds into no-risk interest-bearing accounts where her three children would remain the beneficiaries of said funds and she could withdraw her money anytime she wanted to, or for some other pretended purpose," the complaint states.

She says the Madsens repeatedly referred to God while pushing her to give them her money.

"Michael and Indra also tried hard to persuade Jolene to invest her retirement funds in a real estate transaction, to no avail.

"Michael and Indra even drove Jolene to Dammeron Valley in Washington County and tried to persuade her to invest her money in some real property in Dammeron Valley. In doing so, Michael even intentionally got the Madsen's vehicle stuck in the mud in front of a particular parcel of property on said trip and then turned to Jolene and told her that he knew that them getting stuck in the mud in front of that property was a sign from God that it was God's will that Jolene should invest her money in that particular piece of property," the complaint states.

"In order to induce Jolene to allow Michael to act as her financial representative to 'protect' her money, Michael even offered to use his purported 'power' as a member of the priesthood in their church to pronounce a religious blessing on Jolene to 'assist' Jolene in deciding to do what that Madsens told her she should do. In administering said 'blessing' to Jolene, Michael specifically instructed Jolene that it was God's will that Jolene should allow Michael to take control of her retirement funds so he could safeguard them for her."

Michael Madsen set up a shell entity, Poseidon LLC, to conceal the fraud and designated himself as the manager and only signer on the company bank account, Drake claims.

"On or about Sept. 27, 2007, in reliance upon Michael and Indra's repeated representations, Jolene wired and/or deposited her substantial retirement funds in the approximate amount of $112,000 to an account that Michael directed her to. ...

"Michael represented to Jolene that her funds were securely deposited in an interest bearing account in New Mexico or used from some other pretended purpose," the complaint states.

"In reality, although Michael held himself out as her fiduciary or financial adviser, Michael never worked to protect Jolene's money as represented but engaged in self-dealing with Jolene's money for his own benefit.

"Within just a day or two of having access to Jolene's retirement funds, Michael began to shuffle Jolene's money between several accounts to make it look legitimate and/or to conceal his transfers.

"Instead of placing Jolene's retirement in a 'protected' interest-bearing account, however, Michael and Indra almost immediately withdrew a significant portion of Jolene's money to support their own lifestyle and/or pay their personal expenses including, upon information and belief, paying for Indra's breast augmentation," the complaint states.

Michael Madsen wired a "substantial" portion of the money to his father and brother - defendants Alan and Geoffrey Madsen - and to Damerron Land LLC, according to the complaint.

Drake claims the Madsens repeatedly told her "that her account was doing well and that it would disrupt things if she tried to pull her money out."

But in 2012 the Madsens stopped taking her calls and refused to return the money, Drake says. So she hired a private investigator.

She claims that Michael Madsen told the investigator that her money was safe, that she was "in a secured position" and that "she was in the first position" in a land development run by his father and brother - Dammeron Land LLC.

She claims that on Jan. 21 this year, "only after Michael went into a private room and called his father, Alan, to further conspire against Jolene, did Michael suddenly come up with a story that Jolene had insisted that the Madsens take $10,000 of Jolene's money for Indra's illegitimate son who was allegedly ill and that the Madsens begrudgingly took her money."

Drake says that's hogwash. She says the Madsens have not returned any of her money or shown any evidence that it is "safeguarded."

She wants $112,000, plus punitive damages for fraud and breach of contract.

She is represented by K. Jake Graff, of St. George.

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