Alleged owner of Glenwood design center comes forward in fraud case
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A Glenwood Springs businesswoman charged with seven counts of felony theft for allegedly defrauding customers out of thousands of dollars could be facing additional charges, including identity theft.
Shawnee Kim Ryan, 53, was arrested in May and charged in early June after Glenwood Springs attorney Anthony Durrett filed a criminal complaint. The complaint named approximately 40 people claiming to be victims of Ryan’s allegedly deceptive business practices.
According to prosecutors’ arrest affidavit, 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.
The Glenwood Design Center’s blog indicates that Ryan is the lead interior designer and not the owner of the company. The Glenwood Design Center Inc. is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office; Keith Richard Wayne is listed as the owner as of Feb. 2, 2010. Ryan filed for bankruptcy in March this year.
However, Wayne told the Post Independent last week that he, in fact, does not own the design center, but rather is homeless in Glenwood. He said he tried to earn some money by doing some painting for Ryan earlier this year.
“I’m not the owner of anything,” Wayne said. “I’m just a homeless guy who’s settled in Glenwood for a while.”
Wayne, who is in his late 40s, said that he’d been living in Glenwood Springs since last October. He said that he agreed to let Ryan list him as the company’s president as a way to repay Wayne for the painting job that he completed but was never fully compensated for.
“I asked her if there was anything illegal about it and she said no,” Wayne said. “I was a little leery about that, but it sounded like it was only going to be three months in, and three months out, and I can pick up some money and maybe recover.”
Wayne said he first met Ryan in January when he inquired about work at the Glenwood Design Center. But, similar to other complaints from other victims in the case, Wayne claims that Ryan only paid him about half of the agreed-upon price.
Wayne said that he then continued working for Ryan, doing odd jobs around the shop, organizing the store room and delivering some fliers.
“But I wasn’t getting paid,” he said.
According to Wayne, Ryan told him that she had filed for bankruptcy and then asked to use his name and Social Security number to list him as president and CEO of the Glenwood Design Center to pay him back for the money she owed him.
“She told me my title was to be president and CEO, and now she’s made me the owner,” Wayne said.
After seeing his name in the newspaper in a previous article, Wayne decided to approach the Post Independent and the district attorney’s office.
“I must clarify to the public that all I own is a tent, a couple of sleeping bags, a Denver Broncos blanket, and a veteran, varmint-chewed JanSport backpack,” Wayne said in a written statement.
Wayne called the DA’s chief investigator, Beth Bascom, and agreed to an interview after reading the June 10 edition of the Post Independent, in which an article described the allegations and felony charges against Ryan. In the article, Bascom said she was unsuccessful in tracking down Wayne or the other alleged owner, Marilyn LaMont, but that she wanted to talk to them.
“The investigation is ongoing, but Mr. Wayne was a valuable interview,” Bascom said.
The information Wayne provided could lead to additional charges being filed, she said, but that decision is up to prosecutors. As for Wayne, Bascom said the DA’s office was not pursuing charges against him.
“We are not looking at Mr. Wayne as a suspect,” Bascom said.
Bascom said that she continues to get phone calls from additional individuals claiming to have also experienced similar problems with Ryan.
Bascom said that Glenwood Design Center General Manager Anouk Olson declined to speak with her about the case. But Bascom said that she has been unable to contact LaMont as of Friday.
Olson and Ryan declined to comment when contacted by the Post Independent. Ryan is due back in court in July.
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