Couple who allegedly spent client's money at auto dealerships, travel agencies sued

Ann Knef May 6, 2008, 10:47am

A couple who handled the finances of a Belleville man allegedly defrauded him of more than $200,000, according to a suit filed in St. Clair County May 2.

James C. Powell alleges that Sharon Enskat and Ronald Arpin breached their fiduciary duty to him by cashing personal checks written on his account totaling more than $70,000, the complaint states.

Powell also alleges Enskat and Arpin made purchases totaling $139,622.63 without his knowledge.

He alleges the couple wrote checks on his bank account to, among other places, Ashley Furniture Store for $9,612.42, Jack Schmitt (Chevrolet) of O'Fallon for $15,071.06, Jack Schmitt Ford for $37,500 and Sun Set Ford for $14,000.

He claims the couple also wrote checks to Cruise Tour and Travel for $11,205.64 and Lucky Jewelers for $20,000.

Enskat began assisting Powell with the management of his bank accounts, paying bills and providing other financial assistance, on Jan. 30, 2006, through Octboer 2007, the complaint states.

Arpin resided with Enskat and shared duties of administering Powell's financial affairs, the complaint states.

"Defendants, Sharon Enskat and Ronald Arpin, individually, or jointly, owed a (duty) to exercise the highest standard of care in the management and disbursement of the assets of Plaintiff, said duty being based upon their fiduciary relationship," the complaint states.

"In the issuance of each of the foregoing checks, Defendants, Sharon Enskat and Ronald Arpin, intentionally prepared, signed and negotiated the checks, without the knowledge of Plaintiff, signing Plaintiff's name and securing the negotiation of said checks without Plaintiff's knowledge," the complaint states.

Powell is represented by William L. Berry of Dunham, Boman & Leskera of Collinsville.

In the complaint's third count, Powell claims that Enskat and Arpin acknowledged "that certain sums had been removed from Plaintiff's financial accounts."

Powell alleges that Enskat and Powell signed a promissory note on June 6, 2007, agreeing to pay him $300,000, "at the time Ron's settlement comes through."

"The settlement to which reference is made was the settlement of a cause of action filed against Memorial Hospital, by Defendant, Ronald Arpin's Mother, a cause of action that has been resolved and the settlement funds disbursed," the complaint states.

"Defendants, having collected the sums arising out of 'Ron's settlement' have failed to pay the amount set forth in said Promissory Note in spite of demands by Plaintiff to do so and therefore Defendants are in default," the complaint states.

Powell is seeking $300,000 in damages plus attorney's fees and costs of the suit.

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