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Hubbard County resort under investigation for alleged fraud

Big Wolf Lake Resort's website is up and running while it is under investigation for alleged fraud. Here is a screen shot of the resort's website.

A resort in the northeastern corner of Hubbard County that has been the subject of environmental issues is now under criminal investigation for alleged fraud.

Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne said his office is investigating "seven or eight" complaints that potential guests at Big Wolf Lake Resort sent thousands of dollars in deposits for cabin rentals while the resort was being foreclosed on.

The resort on Wolf Lake is closed, Dearstyne said.

The phone has been disconnected and manager Christopher Dunker could not be reached for comment.

"We had an environmental file on it that I had originally," Dearstyne said. "That came to me this spring. Then the Sheriff's Office got the reports on the others."

Dearstyne said his office got involved in the criminal matter when a Twin Cities Chamber of Commerce contacted the Sheriff's Office on behalf of the complainants.

"I know they've not been able to use their reservations and that's what we've been looking at," he said of the fraud allegations.

"They've got a website that's still up and running," Dearstyne said.

"So these people that had a $2,000 reservation got 20 percent off."

Some guests paid in full, not just the $150 non-refundable deposit, because the website was offering the discount incentive.

The county was able to resolve the environmental issue with the bank, Dearstyne said.

"The bank did something as far as an eviction and is foreclosing on the note they had on it," he said of the current status. "They had the septic issue and we've resolved that with the bank in that they've agreed to a stipulation with us."

The stipulation is "that they won't do anything with the septic while they're trying to sell the property. It will be a condition of whoever buys it."

Dearstyne said the stipulation between the bank and the county was that "no one will be living there and the septic won't be used."

The resort's website boasts the property has state-of-the-art cabins, Jacuzzis, a great room with a 60-inch plasma TV and a new sauna built for the 2011 winter season.

"There's still some follow-up work on it that has to be done at the Sheriff's Office until we can charge it out," Dearstyne said.

Meanwhile he urged potential visitors to contact the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce for information on rentals in the area.

Chamber officials in Park Rapids said the resort is not a member of their organization, but they will help guests find other lodging.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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