Glenwood Springs businesswoman charged with theft
Glenwood Springs, CO, Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A Glenwood Springs businesswoman charged for allegedly defrauding customers was advised of the charges against her in Garfield County District Court Wednesday afternoon.
Shawnee Kim Ryan, 53, who appeared in court without counsel, has been charged with seven counts of felony theft by the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She faces a possible penalty of between two and six years in prison, three years of parole and up to $250,000 in fines for each count, if she is found guilty.
Ryan’s May 18 arrest was the culmination of a year-long investigation by local authorities and DA’s office investigators. The investigation began after a local attorney filed a complaint with the DA’s office in 2009, alleging Ryan’s deceptive business practices.
The complaint, filed by Anthony Durrett, names approximately 40 people claiming to have been “victimized” by Ryan, and alleges that she ran a racketeering enterprise, and has “defrauded numerous clients out of substantial amounts of money.”
Since her arrest, at least two additional people have contacted the DA’s office with similar allegations toward Ryan, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Chief Investigator Beth Bascom.
According to the arrest affidavit report written by Bascom, Ryan operated interior design businesses in Glenwood Springs and Basalt under several names including Duir Design, Glenwood Design Center, Interiors by You, and Mid-Valley Blinds and Spreads, since at least 2007.
According to the Glenwood Design Center’s blog, the design center is home to seven companies ranging from lighting fixture to oriental antique rug vendors and manufacturers. The blog also indicates that Ryan is not the owner of the company, and that she is only the lead interior designer.
The Glenwood Design Center LLC is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, with the owner named as Keith Richard Wayne. The paperwork was filed with the secretary’s office on Feb. 2, 2010, and lists the Glenwood location, at 824 Grand Avenue, as the physical address with a business mailing address in Denver.
Calls to Glenwood Design Center attempting to contact Wayne for comment were not returned. However, an e-mail seeking comment was returned and allegedly written by the design center’s newly hired vice president of operations and general manager Anouk Olson, who declined comment.
A post on the blog dated June 6, states that the owners, Marilyn LaMont and Keith Wayne, have decided to close the Glenwood Springs store. However, the statement, also allegedly written by Olson, stated that the company will remain “open and intact,” but will move operations to the Front Range. The statement said that the company will offer web-based and specific project-bundled packages.
“The decision to move Glenwood Design Center does not come from any negative element we have experienced here. It’s just a question of being good business people who work for prosperity, not just to stay alive,” read a statement on the blog.
According to Bascom, she has been unable to locate or contact Wayne as of the first week of June, or anyone else listed as having anything to do with the design center.
“I have not confirmed that anyone has taken over the business,” Bascom said. “I would be very interested in talking to anyone who has bought into that company.”
“There are many layers of deception to this case,” Bascom said.
Ryan allegedly provided customers with lower-priced products than what they had paid for, and kept the difference. In some instances, clients named in the complaint claimed to not have received products at all, even after they had paid. Investigators claim that in some instances, orders were never placed, and Ryan pocketed the cash.
When clients requested a refund, the report stated that Ryan would issue a check that, in most cases, would not clear the bank. Some clients claim that they never received a refund.
It’s also alleged that Ryan defrauded other businesses and suppliers by ordering products, and then did not pay for them.
Ryan has three previous judgments against her in small claims court. The three people in those cases are named in this most recent case as well.
The DA’s office discovered that Ryan filed for bankruptcy on 83 creditors on March 4, 2010. Of the 83 creditors, only two of the nearly 40 people listed in the complaint filed by Durrett were listed.