Dickinson police: Were you swindled?: DPD seeks information in case against Cynthia Ell of Dickinson
Did Cynthia Ell swindle you? If so, the Dickinson Police Department would like to hear from you, as they allege the 38-year-old Dickinson woman may have collected more than $166,000 fraudulently from a Billings County man.
Ell was arrested in Bismarck on Saturday after an investigation led law enforcement to believe she was collecting money under false pretenses, DPD Capt. Joe Cianni said in a press release issued Tuesday.
Ell appeared in front of Southwest District Judge William Herauf for a bond hearing Monday. Her bond was set at $50,000, which she posted cash and was released.
She is charged with a Class B felony.
The criminal complaint, filed Friday with Stark County District Court, states that Ell persuaded a Billings County resident to write her a check for more than $166,000 to be used to pay her mortgage.
She used the money to purchase vehicles and other items, according to the criminal complaint.
Ell promised to repay the Billings County resident with funds coming from a medical claim settlement she was receiving from a doctor, according to the criminal complaint.
Ell's bond was set at $50,000 because of the amount allegedly stolen and because Herauf and Assistant State's Attorney Jim Hope believed she was a flight risk based on items found and not found at her residence.
She is estranged from husband John Ell and had allegedly removed several items from their shared residence, Hope said during court Monday. She had allegedly gotten a quote on a rental car and made a comment about moving to Utah.
Cynthia Ell's lawyer, Tyrone Jay Turner of Bismarck-based Larson Latham Huettl LLP, did not share the feelings of Hope and Herauf, asking her bond be in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. He joined the court via telephone.
While she was seeking medical attention and visiting her mother in Bismarck on Saturday, the mother of nine said she intended to return to Dickinson on Monday because she has custody of eight of her children for a week starting Tuesday. She said she previously told police that she would turn herself in if asked.
In July, Cynthia Ell had taken out advertisements in media outlets, including The Dickinson Press, asking people to donate to an account at Gate City Bank in Dickinson to help cover the cost of medical complications brought about by the 12-week premature birth of her ninth child.
She previously ran Building Blocks Day Care from her home.
Cynthia Ell is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 14.
DPD is still investigating the issue, Cianni said.
Calls to Gate City Bank, Hope and Turner were not returned as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Any information regarding Cynthia Ell can be shared with the DPD at 701-456-7751.