Reverend who allegedly used charity funds for personal expenses settles with Colorado AG

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A reverend and his son have settled a lawsuit with the Attorney General that accused them of misusing charitable funds to pay personal expenses and buy tools for a construction company.

According to Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman for Attorney General John Suthers, Reverend Richard Thebo founded Full Spirit Ministries, which also operated as Open Door Mission. Thebo, his son Darren, and two of the charity's board members were involved in the Attorney General's lawsuit.

The suit alleged that the Fort Collins-based Full Spirit Ministries and its principals have misused at least $31,000 in charitable assets.

Full Spirit Ministries is a charity and not associated with any church or other religious organization, the Attorney General's office said.

According to Tyler, Full Spirit Ministries was suspected of telling consumers their donations would help the homeless when they were actually being used to pay Reverend Thebo’s personal expenses, including improvements to his personal home. His son Darren also allegedly used the donations to purchase tools for his business, Thebo Construction, LLC.

7NEWS interviewed Thebo in March. At that time, he said he was under attack because he was running a religious organization in a secular state.

"No truth. This is a state versus church," said Thebo.

"Why would they pick on you if you're helping homeless people?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart at the time.

"You tell me," said Thebo.

During that March interview, Stewart also asked Thebo if all of the money donated went to the ministry.

"Absolutely. 100 percent," he replied.

Tyler said the settlement requires Reverend Thebo and his son to pay $14,000 in restitution to the Denver Rescue Mission. Their charity's assets will all be gifted to the Denver Rescue Mission, Tyler said.

Reverend Thebo and Darren Thebo are also barred from operating, forming, founding or establishing any charity in Colorado. The two as well as board members Andrew and Patsy Kaminski are also barred from serving as director, officer or trustee of any charity or soliciting on behalf of any charity.

The Kaminskis are allowed to continue running their prison ministry, the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship.

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