Michael Mendenhall accused of shaking down elderly clients for more than $1 million

The $1 million-plus allegedly swiped from clients by Michael Mendenhall can't compare to the $71 million allegedly stolen by Ponzi schemer Sean Mueller.

But Mueller pleaded guilty to ripping off the likes of John Elway, while Mendenhall is accused of stealing from elderly people of much more modest means.

The Michael Mendenhall arrest affidavit includes the story of a Rapid City, South Dakota man described as a widower whose wife passed away two years earlier. A high school grad, he'd worked for a telephone company for a dozen years before serving as a union representative until his retirement.

Upon his wife's passing, the man contacted Mendenhall about a $62,000 annuity the couple had purchased together. He wanted to split it between his wife's two children and him, but Mendenhall talked him into giving him a ninety-day loan of $61,500 to invest in a real estate deal. In the end, the document says Mendenhall only returned $10,000 of that total but wrote a promissory note for the remainder.

Wonder how much that's worth now...

Look below to see Mendenhall's mug shot, as well as the entire arrest affidavit and a news release from the Denver District Attorney's Office:

Denver District Attorney's Office release:


Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has formally charged a former insurance salesman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly victims.

Michael Mendenhall (dob: 06-18-63) is charged with three counts of theft from an at-risk adult (F3).

The charges allege that Mendenhall took money from elderly victims and signed promissory notes saying the money would be used for real estate acquisition but used the money for his own personal gain instead.

The investigation is continuing and additional victims and charges are possible. Losses to victims are estimated to exceed $1,000,000.

Mendenhall was arrested last Friday, November 12, 2010, and remains in custody in the Denver Detention Center; his bond is set at $500,000. He is scheduled to appear in Denver County Courtroom 2100 on November 17, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. to be formally advised of the charges.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "John Elway's $15M: Did it nearly push suicidal alleged Ponzi schemer Sean Mueller over edge?"

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts