Anderson Ranch still trying to recoup theft |

Anderson Ranch still trying to recoup theft

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

A woman convicted in 2010 of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Anderson Ranch has only paid back about $2,700, according to court documents.

The Snowmass Village nonprofit organization is going back to court to try and garnish wages from Marlana Howell, and while ranch representatives haven’t been able to locate her, they have been able to find a bank account containing more than $13,000 that apparently belongs to her, the documents state.

Howell embezzled more than $736,000 from Anderson Ranch between February 2007 and July 2009 while working as a bookkeeper. She was sentenced to four years in prison in August 2010 after pleading guilty to felony theft. She served about 17 months of that sentence and was released on parole.

Anderson Ranch was able to recoup nearly $600,000 of the total amount Howell embezzled from banks and trusts she used in her scheme. However, District Judge James Boyd ordered her to pay $178,548 in restitution to Anderson Ranch.

Howell has paid $2,727 so far, leaving her on the hook for $175,821, according to court documents filed earlier this month.

A lawyer for Garfield & Hecht in Aspen, the ranch’s law firm, attempted to track her down at her last known addresses in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, but discovered she doesn’t live at any of them, according to court documents. Her former lawyer also didn’t know where she was, and neither did a collections investigator from the 9th Judicial District, the document states.

However, a representative of ANB Bank in Colorado Springs reported holding a deposit belonging to Howell of $13,192, according to a garnishment writ filed in court two weeks ago.

The embezzlement hit Anderson Ranch hard. The arts nonprofit’s reputation took a hit, fundraising dropped and two staff positions had to be cut, according to a letter written in 2010 by Anderson Ranch Treasurer Bruce Berger.

Also, Howell was not cooperative in returning money to Anderson Ranch, and did not relinquish property she bought with embezzled funds — including an Airstream trailer, a Ford truck and two motorcycles, Berger wrote in his letter.