Attorney General announces consumer protection lawsuit against Fort Collins-based charity, homeless shelter

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit against Full Spirit Ministries, a Fort Collins-based charity; its founder, CEO and president, Richard M. Thebo (DOB: 9/11/1940); and several of the charity’s board members on suspicion that they misused the charity’s assets and made misrepresentations while soliciting donations.

According to the complaint, filed in Larimer County District Court, Full Spirit Ministries is suspected of telling consumers their donations would be used to help the homeless when they actually were being used to pay Thebo’s personal expenses, including improvements to private residences. Thebo is suspected of justifying the improvements to his home by claiming it was a halfway house, despite the fact that most of the homeless individuals who lived with him were his female companions. Thebo’s son and Full Spirit Ministries board member Darren Thebo (DOB: 10/2/1969), one of the named defendants in the complaint, is suspected of using charitable assets to purchase tools for his business, Thebo Construction, LLC.

Full Spirit Ministries, which also does business as Open Door Mission, additionally is suspected of misrepresenting the services it provided to the homeless, including the number of individuals it fed and housed. The charity is suspected of making these misrepresentations on its Web site and in its monthly newsletter.

According to the complaint, 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.

Consumers who believe they have been defrauded by a business or nonprofit can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General via www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint or 1-800-222-4444. Consumers also can learn more about charities, including looking up their registration information, via www.checkthecharity.com.

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