Glenwood Springs businesswoman arrested on new fraud charges
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A local interior designer accused of defrauding her clients out of thousands of dollars was arrested on new charges Thursday outside a Glenwood Springs courtroom.
Shawnee Kim Ryan, 53, was in Garfield District Court for an 8:15 a.m. arraignment hearing on seven counts of felony theft, for which she was charged in early June. She stepped out of the courtroom for a moment before her case was called, a Garfield County Sheriff’s deputy was summoned and Ryan was placed under arrest.
She now faces additional charges of fraud by check and violation of bail bond conditions, both class 6 felonies, according to Deputy 9th District Attorney John Pototsky.
The new crimes allegedly occurred at some point after she had posted a $35,000 bond and was released following her May 18 arrest on the theft charges, he said.
An additional $3,000 bond was added for the new charges. Ryan remained in the Garfield County Jail late Thursday afternoon on $38,000 bond.
Her initial arrest stemmed from a year-long investigation by local authorities and District Attorney’s office investigators. The investigation began after local attorney Anthony Durrett filed a complaint with the DA’s office in 2009, alleging Ryan’s deceptive business practices.
The complaint lists approximately 40 people claiming to have been “victimized” by Ryan. It alleges that she ran a racketeering enterprise that “defrauded numerous clients out of substantial amounts of money.” After her arrest, other alleged victims contacted the DA’s office with similar complaints.
According to investigators, Ryan operated interior design businesses in Glenwood Springs and Basalt under several names dating back to at least 2007, including Duir Design, Glenwood Design Center, Interiors by You, and Mid-Valley Blinds and Spreads.
Ryan allegedly provided customers with cheaper products than what they had paid for, and kept the difference, or in some instances clients never received the products at all. In some instances, orders were never placed, and Ryan pocketed the cash, according to investigators.
When clients requested a refund, Ryan would allegedly issue a check that, in most cases, would not clear the bank, and some clients claim that they never received a refund.
Ryan also allegedly defrauded other businesses and suppliers by ordering products and not paying. Ryan filed for bankruptcy on 83 creditors in March, but only two of the nearly 40 people in Durrett’s complaint were listed.
Possible charges of identity theft remain a possibility as well, after a man Ryan had listed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office as the owner of the Glenwood Design Center claimed he is not the owner.
Keith Richard Wayne, who was listed as the owner of the business from the time it was formed on Feb. 2, 2010, until it was officially dissolved as of Aug. 27, told the Post Independent in a June interview that he did not own the design center. Rather, he said he was a homeless man living in Glenwood who had done some work for Ryan.
Wayne indicated that he agreed to let Ryan list him as the company’s president as a way to repay him for a painting job that he completed but was never fully compensated for.
If convicted, Ryan 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 of the theft counts. The new charges carry an additional penalty of one year to 18 months in prison.
Pototsky said Thursday that, as far as he knows, Ryan still does not have an attorney representing her. The new case was scheduled for a Sept. 15 court hearing, while the former case was re-scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Sept. 16.
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