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February 4, 2013
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Ryan back in court for restitution

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Shawnee Ryan, convicted last August of stealing thousands of dollars from clients of her interior design businesses, will be back in court on Tuesday to learn how much she must pay back in restitution.

Ryan, 55, has been serving a 12-year sentence in the Colorado Department of Corrections women's prison in Denver, but is to be brought back to Glenwood Springs for the court date.

According to the court file on Ryan's case, former District Attorney Martin Beeson recommended that Ryan be required to pay back a total of $57,234 to seven of her victims.

When she was convicted, victims' accounts indicated that she had swindled money out of as many as 40 customers, although only seven victims were included in the charges filed against her more than two years ago.

"What the court heard at trial was really just the tip of the iceberg," said deputy district attorney Andrea Bryan at the sentencing hearing.

And one of Ryan's victims, Deborah Thomas, owner of Illumination Designs in Grand Junction, testified at Ryan's sentencing hearing that Ryan ripped her off for $15,000 in 2008. Thomas' allegations, however, were not part of the case that sent Ryan to prison.

Most of the victims listed in the motion for restitution are asking for sums of $3,000 to $6,000.

The largest amount in the motion, and the only one higher than $6,300, is from Ace Hardwood Flooring of Austin, Texas, which is asking Ryan to repay more than $27,000.

String of cases involve female staffers

The Ryan case was one of eight in recent years that have alleged theft and embezzlement from employers by female staffers.

• In 2010, Vanessa Lynn Lujan pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement for stealing more than $9,000 from the Garfield County Treasurer's Office that year. She was sentenced to three years of supervised probation.

• Lisa Mack, a former financial officer with Valley View Hospital now living in Texas, pleaded guilty in August 2012 to stealing approximately $177,000 from another hospital employee - her daughter-in-law, Michelle Sandel - whom Mack had hired to work for the hospital. Mack was sentenced to 50 days in jail, with eight years of probation and a judge's order to pay restitution of $177,000.

• Also in August 2012, Suzan Wilson pleaded guilty to stealing more than $16,000 from her employer, Cynthia Wallis, owner of the Natural Vet clinic in Carbondale. Wilson was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to Wallis.

• In September 2012, a Garfield County Clerk and Recorder's Office employee, Brenda Caywood of Glenwood Springs, was accused of stealing almost $16,000 in cash payments for vehicle-related transactions. Her case is still pending in 9th District Court.

• In October 2012, the death of former Marble town clerk Karen Mulhall cast a somber light on a Colorado Bureau of Investigation probe, started last August, into fraud allegations against her. Authorities now believe Mulhall stole more than $300,000 from the town's coffers in her 18 years of employment there.

• In November 2012, Erin Pressler of New Castle was charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from her employer, Design Door Hardware in Carbondale.

• And in December 2012, Diane Margret Graf of Glenwood Springs was charged with stealing more than $3,800 from her employer, the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool in Glenwood Springs. She is free on $5,000 bond; her case is pending.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 4, 2013 01:24AM Published Feb 4, 2013 01:23AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.