Despite immunity, alleged fraud case continues for Minot event planner
MINOT, N.D. - The North Dakota Attorney General's Office continued its pursuit of information from a former Minot event planner in a Minot courtroom Monday, Dec. 3, even while offering her immunity against criminal prosecution.
Terpsehore Maras Lindeman and her Grand Forks attorney, David Thompson, accepted the immunity deal, although they asked North Central District Judge Doug Mattson to dismiss the case entirely.
The state's offer of immunity reflects the Attorney General Office's intention to not pursue criminal charges through the local state's attorney's office.
"For us, this always has been a civil case and continues to be a civil case," said Parrell Grossman, assistant attorney general and director of the consumer protection division.
"I am hoping the granting of immunity can lead to resolution of this matter," Assistant Attorney General Brian Card told the court.
"That's my expectation," Mattson responded.
Last January, the attorney general's office asked the court to compel Lindeman to provide information related to her organization of "A Magic City Christmas," which was scheduled but cancelled in December 2017.
The attorney general's staff is investigating Lindeman for alleged consumer fraud in connection with the event, claiming she failed to register as a professional fund raiser and misspent donations. Mattson had ruled Lindeman to be in contempt for not fully providing requested information. She has denied the state's allegations against her and claimed her Fifth Amendment protection from self incrimination.
Lindeman said the attorney general already has the information it is requesting, either provided by her or obtained by administrative subpoena. She said the office now is seeking information that doesn't exist or is personal information unrelated to the investigation.
Card and Grossman say Lindeman has not provided all the information requested nor have administrative subpoenas fully produced the information necessary for the investigation.
Thompson noted the attorney general's office has used administrative subpoenas to obtain information without Lindeman's knowledge from sources such as her bank and educational institutions. It is not legal on the federal level to obtain such information without notifying the person under investigation, but North Dakota law includes no similar mandate.
"On a policy level, I think that's wrong, but I am not going to argue that," Thompson said.
Last July, the state filed a separate civil action against Lindeman, accusing her of failing to register as a charitable organization or professional fundraiser and using deceptive practices in advertising and fundraising. Lindeman has requested the judge dismiss that case as well.