Michigan woman claims she was fleeced by Aspen man
June 29, 2011
ASPEN – A Michigan woman filed a fraud suit Wednesday against a man who lives on the backside of Aspen Mountain, claiming that he duped her out of $463,000.
The complaint against Jeffrey St. Johns comes after county Judge Jonathan Pototsky signed court orders June 24 granting the foreclosure sales of two mining lode properties he acquired earlier this year.
The court found that St. Johns failed to make payments to Castle Creek Investors on three promissory notes, secured with separate deeds of trust, totaling $1.85 million. CCI sold St. Johns the 36-acre Iron Mine and the 37-acre Sacramento lodes on Jan. 21. The properties also are in receivership.
The fraud suit, filed in Pitkin County District Court by Barbara Sorenson, alleges that St. Johns, starting in 2008, persuaded her to invest in business opportunities ranging from a bottled-water project to a venture called NetChecks.
Through a series of transactions starting in June 2008, Sorenson wired or delivered funds to St. Johns ranging from $3,500 to $138,000, the suit says.
St. Johns assured Sorenson she would receive ownership stock in his ventures, including 49 percent in his water project, the suit says. He also convinced her to loan him money to develop his Midnight Mine properties, which he did not own at the time, the suit says.
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Sorenson has not been able to recoup any of the money she invested or loaned St. Johns, the suit says.
“Sorenson has demanded of St. Johns that her money be returned to her,” the suit says. “Despite such demands, St. Johns has failed and refused to return any money to Sorenson.”
Instead, St. Johns used some of the money to buy a “large motorcoach/RV,” the suit alleges.
The suit makes seven claims for relief, including civil theft, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of Colorado Securities Act.
Aspen attorney Jeff Wertz, who filed the complaint, said it speaks for itself. He said that Sorenson and St. Johns have not been in touch for a while.
St. Johns could not be reached for comment.