GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Shawnee Ryan, who was sentenced in October to 12 years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars from clients of her interior design business, appeared in 9th Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday for a hearing on $57,234 in restitution payments that prosecutors are seeking to compensate her victims.
District Judge Denise Lynch, who presided over Ryan's trial last August, did not issue a restitution ruling at the hearing but said she would issue a written judgement in the coming days.
Ryan, 55, represented herself, having fired Carbondale defense attorney Kathy Goudy after being convicted of seven counts of felony theft in August.
She faced off against Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan, who was seeking restitution on behalf of seven of Ryan's victims, who reside in Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Ryan disputed several of the claims made by prosecutors in a recent restitution filing, most notably a request by Ace Hardwood Flooring of Austin, Texas, for more than $27,000.
"Unless Mrs. Bryan wants to arrest me, I don't know where she's coming up with that amount," Ryan said, claiming that she had been convicted of stealing much less from the company.
In response, Bryan argued that the owner of Ace Hardwood had incurred roughly $6,000 in attorney's fees in his attempt to recover payment from Ryan for hardwood flooring sold to her.
Ryan also claimed that the amounts requested by several other victims were erroneous, though she provided no evidence for that assertion, instead blaming her former defense attorney.
Ryan objected to being charged for the costs of prosecuting the case, particularly the fees that prosecutors paid to Colorado Department of Revenue employee Ken King, who helped them comb through Ryan's bank statements. Arguing that King remained on the Department of Revenue payroll while he was testifying in the case, Ryan claimed that she shouldn't have to pay for things like his travel expenses.
"For me to pay his hotel bill seems a little far-fetched," she said.
In addition, Ryan questioned the interest charges added to the restitution payments that prosecutors are seeking.
Under Colorado statutes, convicted defendants can be charged 8 percent interest on restitution payments from the date of their crime to the date of sentencing, then 12 percent from the date of sentencing through the date they pay.
Ryan criticized what she called "grandstanding" language in the restitution motion filed by the district attorney, taking issue with the phrase "stolen lumber" listed in a restitution claim by Ace Hardwood Flooring, which she claimed was inflammatory.
"The people simply described the property or money for which we are seeking restitution," Bryan responded.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that between 2006 and 2009 Ryan established a pattern of taking payment for services, then completing only part of an order or doing no work at all, but keeping the money.
When clients complained, Ryan often wrote them threatening letters or became aggressive over the phone. In some cases, according to testimony from several victims at trial, she even filed liens against clients to dissuade them from recovering their payments.
Notably absent at the hearing Tuesday were any of the roughly 30 other parties whose claims were not included in the case against Ryan but who said during trial that she scammed them as well.
Those included Deborah Thomas, owner of the Grand Junction-based company Illumination Designs, who testified at Ryan's sentencing hearing that Ryan had stolen $15,000 from her in 2008.