BISMARCK — A judgment has been filed in Burleigh County District Court against a defunct spa and its owners, Jill Becker and Brent Voorhees, ordering them to pay $275,195 in restitution to consumers they defrauded, according to information provided by the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office.
Becker and Voorhees were also ordered to pay civil penalties of $28,660, and banned from doing business in the state.
“Becker and Vorhees intentionally sold worthless gift cards up until the financial collapse and closure of the business. Then, they repeatedly refused to accept any responsibility or show any remorse for their conduct,” said Parrell Grossman, director of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division.
State investigators determined that Becker and Voorhees continued to sell gift cards for future spa services, even as they made plans to close their business, Spa D’Athena, in 2017, according to the Attorney General’s Office, which added that Becker and Voorhees refused to cooperate with investigators, forcing state officials to take legal action against them.
During the litigation, the consumer protection division found evidence of other fraudulent and deceptive acts, including records showing more than $500,000 in gift card debts and that assets of Spa D’Athena were diverted to pay expenses of Athena’s Touch, a separate business run by Voorhees, and to make Becker’s child support payments, the Attorney General’s Office said.
While the legal action was pending in Burleigh county, Becker and Voorhees moved to Nevada and filed bankruptcy for themselves and their businesses, admitting they did so to discharge debts owed to the customers for the gift cards, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
“Unfortunately, because the restitution likely will be discharged in the bankruptcy, it means there is no money for refunds to consumers who purchased the worthless Spa D’Athena gift cards,” Grossman said.