Loggers Lane victims push for prosecution

Woman accused of stealing from Loggers Lane may face charges

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The Routt County District Attorney’s Office is considering pursuing charges against a Steamboat Springs woman after she reportedly stole, then returned, more than $60,000 from a group of local businesses.

Kati More is accused of taking the money while she was serving as the Loggers Lane Owners Association treasurer but returned the $60,000, plus $10,000 in fines and late fees, leading then-Association President Rob Ryg to decline to press charges in late February.

Since that time, several owners who said they were not represented by Ryg’s decision have come forward to urge the DA’s office to prosecute.

Steamboat Springs Police Department officials said they wanted to prosecute from the beginning, but during a meeting with police, Ryg told More that if she repaid the money, he would not press charges. Ryg, who also is the Routt County coroner, could not be reached for comment Thursday and did not return messages left on his county-issued cell phone.

Detective Jerry Stabile said police do not use possible charges as leverage for repayment, so he removed himself from the discussion.

Because of that conversation, and because the owners association board accepted payment from More while it was convened, and because Ryg signed a “notice of settlement” with More, police recommended not prosecuting at the time. The DA’s office agreed.

Now, police say some owners have stepped forward to say they would like the charges pursued.

“Originally, charges weren’t filed because as president, Rob Ryg said he didn’t want to,” District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said. “Later, there were victims in the (association) who were interested in pressing charges.”

Scott Singer, who owned a carpet store in the development with his wife until they moved to Florida, said he is one of the members pushing for a prosecution.

“We always wanted charges pursued,” he said.

Singer said he had another run-in with More when she tried to buy carpet on his account without paying for it, and that tipped him off that something could be wrong with the group’s accounts. Now, he would like to see her prosecuted for the theft from the association.

“It’s sending a terrible message to the American people that in this country, you can rob people if you’re smart and literate, and if it’s white-collar crime … you’re going to save going to prison for that crime,” he said.

Police Capt. Joel Rae said he agrees with Oldham that More should be charged. He said that because she repaid the money, there’s a chance that the sentence will be lighter if she’s convicted, but that makes it a “win-win situation” because the incident will be on More’s record.

Rae said working with the DA’s office, small theft or embezzlement cases historically were not prosecuted if the money was repaid. But those were small amounts, such as a $50 embezzlement or theft from a business, or a $1,200 fraud by check if the victim did not want to press charges.

In larger cases, such as felony cases, it’s no longer up to the victim, and the crime can be prosecuted no matter what. Rae said this is one of the few cases of this magnitude where victims were paid back in full. More reportedly borrowed money from relatives to pay back the money on the same day Ryg demanded it.

More’s attorney, Larry Combs, said the association members calling for prosecution are in the minority.

“I believe that the overwhelming majority of the people involved were totally satisfied by her response and want this to be over with,” he said.

Waiting for reports

Oldham said she will make the charging decision after she gets all reports from law enforcement agencies. The Police Department has turned over the files to Oldham, but the Routt County Sheriff’s Office now is investigating the case, as well.

Sheriff Gary Wall said that after he learned about the incident from a March 22 story in the Steamboat Today, he decided he wanted to prosecute More. The Sheriff’s Office now is conducting its own investigation.

Wall also has sent e-mails to the district attorney, some victims, the Police Department and the Steamboat Springs City Council saying that he wants More prosecuted and that not prosecuting sends a bad message to the public.

“I cannot let this message continue and will do whatever I can to rectify this injustice,” he wrote.

Wall said in an interview Thursday that his office would not duplicate any of the efforts from the Police Department, but police officials said he has not yet talked to investigators about their efforts.

Police Chief JD Hays said Wall’s interest in the case is a political move in an election year. Wall, a Democrat, will face a Republican challenger in November.

“The motivation behind this as far as I’m concerned is strictly political,” Hays said. “He’s trying to make a little noise because the election is this year and he chooses to do that at our expense.”

Combs said he, too, thought the separate investigation was politically motivated, and he could not understand why there would be a separate investigation.

Wall responded that anything he does can be considered a political move, but because the case is in Routt County, he will continue to follow it.

“If people say that they’re assuming I should not investigation this case, it would be a dereliction of my duty as sheriff to know about a serious crime and not investigate it,” he said.

Oldham said it’s an unusual case to have two agencies investigating, but she will wait until all reports are filed before she decides how to proceed. Oldham said she’s considering theft and forgery charges after More reportedly forged signatures to cash association checks.

Wall said Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mike Curzon is leading the investigation, with other members of the office, and there is no immediate timeframe for when the investigation will be complete.

Comments

beentheredonethat 4 years, 8 months ago

give it up, all of you who are so eager to cast stones at this woman. instead, forgive and move on.

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Amy Harris 4 years, 8 months ago

Come down from your ivory tower, beentheredonethat, and realize that unless she is held accountable for forgery and theft, she can just move to the next town down the road with her clean record and commit those multiple crimes again. And she will have figured out how to avoid detection better, having been caught before.

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kathy foos 4 years, 8 months ago

This is unbeleivable that this woman is stealing money and has gotton away with it.There are more cases of women stealing money at work in this county than I have ever heard of in a small area like ours.Its because they get off lightly at best and now they are getting off the hook completely?What if she was never caught?Would she have been so honest then?Whats up with the coronor?He has alot of public trust also taking care of our loved ones when they pass on and he should be totally honest person,he handles property of the deceased.This is so out of control,you better charge this crooked woman ,or you are crooked representitives of the public trust.Our we supposed to explain that to children in any acceptable way?Oh yea,you are allow to embezzle or forge just as long as you pay it all back?Oh,this is sooo bad!!!you better do something.please

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 8 months ago

mr. combs: does it really matter if even ONE of these victims wants justice? beenthere, it's kind of hard to move on when all these new little stories keep surfacing about this woman's character...when all the evidence is revealed, the DA does her job and ms. more completes her sentence ( if there is one)....then we can move on...forgiving? that is not my position, as i was not the victim.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 8 months ago

There we go with the political crap again. Hays states that Wall is investigating because it's an election year. Maybe Wall is just doing his job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The lady stole $60,000 and needs to face the judge. End of story.

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14th_to_OAR 4 years, 8 months ago

The decision should have made originally to pursue some level of charges whether the specific victims wanted to or not. Oldham often forgets, as do some other DAs, that she represents the People of the State of Colorado, she is not a taxpayer funded attorney for any particular party. While I agree the return of the money and the fact a government official told her she wouldn't be prosecuted if she returned it comes into play, I gather she returned it only after caught, not before.

Oldham should have prosecuted from the get go and at least gotten at least misdemeanor plea from her - I know some wanted more, I'm just saying something would be better than nothing. Didn't she even talk with these other victims at the time of her first decision. I've also seen her do the opposite--completely delegate her job to an accuser. I've seen cases where Oldham responded to plea bargain offers by just passing along a fax from an alleged victim, as if the alleged victim were the DA and not her.

The root of the problem is she operates without an ethical foundation, and just does what she thinks is best for her at the time. I appreciate the 40 or so readers from the Pilot who read my blog piece on her. Keep a tight reign on her now, and find a good candidate to beat her in 2012. She makes at least $110,000 now, and will get a state pay increase of $120,000 in 2011. Plus the Pera pension, etc.

Here's the article that has toped 200 views this week. http://wp.me/pzqev-d2

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 8 months ago

This case is screaming for a plea deal in which there is some minimal jail time and an extended probation period. It is ludicrous to say it is okay to take $60K via numerous fraudulent transactions because it was repaid when caught. That is exactly the sort of thought process that encourages people to commit fraud.

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pitpoodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Ms. More stole money from people who trusted her. People who steal money or anything from others should be prosecuted. It is wrong and making a "deal" does not exonerate her actions. She could move on to another town and steal from trusting people again, especially if she thinks she can get away with it so easily. People's trust is a high priority as far as I am concerned.

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concernedppl 4 years, 8 months ago

Can you say Drama? Gossip. This was a private affair..I want everyone to know that this girl has been punished and paid a huge price with the association. She was NOT caught. She came voluntary to the appropriate ppl and stated the accounting errors and made them correct immediately. This situation was an internal issue that was resolved with the Board members.The consequences have been agreed and resolved by the main seniority members. It's the very few owners that want revenge on her. They once again need to really look deep on themselves and remember that they too have done like kind or much worse in their personal life and that they were never prosecuted for. Enough!!! The DA has more important cases to work on. Oldham don't let the sherriff swindle you. Sherriff your political tactics are Pathetic. For not doing hardly anything for three years and now you ride in on your horse and try to play Big Sherriff. Well I know who I'm voting for! Acts 26:18

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 8 months ago

she showed up at the bank when the money was about to be withdrawn....sorry, forging signatures on checks is not an accounting error...concered, please!...no one needs to look deep into their personal life on a BUSINESS crime...they were stolen from. period.

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steamboatsmile 4 years, 8 months ago

concernppl- More committed a crime. So, if i steal a car and bring it back unharmed, apologize and admit my guilt, i shouldn't be punished? She was placed in a position of trust and broke that trust. She needs to be placed accountable. I honestly believe that she only came forward because she knew she was going to get caught. She admitted it and now should let the legal system take it's course.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 8 months ago

concerned - Are you Ms. More? You have to be. Your thought process only supports the thief. Once a thief, always a thief. Wall is doing his job. Nothing political about it. This is a $60,000 theft that is being investigated by the sheriff.

Did you feel sorry for the crooks that stole a couple million from Alpine Bank? They were sorry too.

Get her, Gary.

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concernedppl 4 years, 8 months ago

No Mr. Duke on Nonsense. I am a friend of her's. I know the truth and am supporting her through this. I am not going to comment on your digs. I am simply her friend that sees the good and realizes the facts. All you haters, base judgement on is what is printed. Every situation is completely different. Its not my place to outline every fact for you. I know what a wonderful person she is. I continue to be a support to her. More people should be Christians!

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 8 months ago

hahahaha...concerned: your killing me..now it's about religion too?...obviously your friends with ms. more (if not her) and it appears as if you barely graduated high school as well (your grammer)...or are you in 4th grade?...my apologies if that is the case. DUKE: EXACTLY

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bandmama 4 years, 8 months ago

I think, that anyone who considers themselves a "true" Christian, doesn't steal. concern- you are really not gaining any brownie points for repeating what a wonderful person you/she is/are. I am glad that you support yourself/her. Everyone needs support at some time, but please, if you truely consider yourself a "Christian" look deep within your little old heart and ask yourself if alledged actions were really a Christian act. And oh yeah, dont bother sending me or anyone else, personal behind the scenes emails, it is inappropriate and uncalled for, whatever you have to say in respnse to my comments should be addressed here.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 8 months ago

Is there any dispute that the facts include: 1) forging signatures to take money that belonged to others 2) admitted to it only moments before it was going to be discovered by others 3) she quickly repaid the entire amount plus interest

So there was both intent to steal and the victim was made whole. Thus, I suggest it is wrong to suggest there is no reason that she should be in the criminal justice system, but it is also wrong to suggest there are currently victims that were hurt by her actions.

Seems to me that if she was so deeply contrite then she would acknowledge that, at a minimum, she should be on probation for a few years.

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justice4all 4 years, 8 months ago

Sure sounds as though Oldamn is not interested in doing her job--or could be that she is too busy. Wonder if she is "INVESTIGATING" her former boss and judge, Paul McLimons. You might say that she really "went down" in history on McLimons (case). See "THE LOCAL", September,2008. , special insert titled "THE CITIZENS BULLETIN". Cost him a divorce. And we elected her, -yep I voted for her-, thinking that we would get something better than Rostink. Does she send a message that it is o k to rob a bank and then return the $$$$$$ when you are confronted? Sounds like another "SWEET PEA" case---only the opposite. Sweet Pea owners did not want to prosecute but the DA says--"WE ARE GOING TO TRY THIS CASE, Which way will the DA bounce "balls" next. You never know which way the DA is going. Going up or going down. Is she only willing to prosecute cases when people pressure her to do so? I think the warrant and charges will read "THE STATE OF COLORADO vs----- so why should she not voluntarily do her job? Google ELIZABETH OLDAM for the rest of the story.

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justice4all 4 years, 8 months ago

To find the article easier, go to www.abusivediscretion.wordpress.com, and read the full story and see what we elected for a DA.

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bandmama 4 years, 8 months ago

Ahhhhh.... just reading the statements is enough for me.... What gets me is that, I believe the $ amount mandates the DA to file charges, yet because the county Dr Death chooses not to, none will be filed???? What the Hell? Umm.... Capote, Mr. Nightwalker,...The WELL known Sweet Pea thieves...why not this???? I still say Debbie Eck should just say she is sorry... Is she still in jail????? If so, what a waste of my tax dollars. REALLY makes me think who I will vote for next election.

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sparkle 4 years, 8 months ago

oldskoolstmbt, Before you correct someone's "grammer", you'd better proofread your own posts! "Your" should read "you're", "grammer" is spelled "grammar," and "if not her" should be "if not she." People who live in glass houses...........

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 8 months ago

sparkle, sorry.. i stand corrected..thank you. ( see how easy that was to own up to mistakes)

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Duke_bets 4 years, 8 months ago

concerned - You may want to take in a church service. You're idea of christianity is quite skewed. You don't just forgive because they said sorry. It also sounds like this is strike 2 with this lady.

Embarrassment is also not punishment for a white collar crime.

'She's so embarrassed, She's so sorry'. I might forgive after a 5 year ride in the pokey. On second thought, I don't forgive thieves.

I even think that greed is one of the 7 big sins according to the bible you have not read.

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 8 months ago

duke, actually... it's about strike 5...but when one never has to be held responsible, why stop?....our system is obviously failing if she walks away from this with a clean record!

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justice4all 4 years, 8 months ago

bandmamma, good point. Whatcha wanna bet the Today removes these posts since they are truthful and based on facts. Oldamn will probably threaten the paper in an "official capacity" for printing this.

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steamboatsmile 4 years, 8 months ago

concerndppl- duke bets is correct, it is you Ms. More and if there are many specifics the public does not know about as you keep on claiming, then it will come out and you will be held accountable. Ms. More stole 60,000 dollars from people that trusted her and i would imagine hard to sleep every night knowing what she did. I hope Ms. More has turned to her faith, she's going to need it in the future. Good luck and i hope she has finally learned a valuable lesson.

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freerider 4 years, 8 months ago

J.D Hays is way out of line saying that Gary Wall is playing politics in an election year

J.D. your the one that playing politics pointing fingers at Gary

We all know you don't like Gary and he is a target for you. You are pathetic This is about a crime that's been committed . not about Gary Wall and the fact that you are trying to change the subject is just abusive on your part.

Gary is doing his job , WTF are you doing ?? protecting felons ??

Looks like this girl has a history of being a scam artist and needs to be prosecute Criminals are always sorry when they get caught

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Cooke 4 years, 8 months ago

Sorry if this appears a bit grammar snobbish - but there is an obvious need and I feel it's my civic duty:

"you're" = "you are" Ex: You're working towards understanding contractions. "your" = possession "Ex: Always check your grammar before you post.

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14th_to_OAR 4 years, 8 months ago

What you guys need to do is find a candidate now. I'm assuming there's no one in the DA's office who is good or would run against her. So find a good defense lawyer in the district. Now that the pay will be at least $120k plus a 13% pension payment, etc., that will make it more attractive to get good candidates than before.

Maybe Stewart would run again. She had some very good ideas, but she needs to go after Oldham for ethics violations. Just because they involved adultery doesn't make them off limits. She violated DA ethics and she was a 24/7 walking liar. You think she turned off the lying in court when she could benefit from it? Anyhow, start lining someone up now.

People are already doing that in Summit and Eagle hoping Hurlbert will lose the senate race and then they'll have an open seat when he term limits out at the end of 2012. It's hard to run against a sitting DA because the defense lawyer and his clients will be majorly screwed during the campaign. Best bet might be someone who lives in your district, but practices on the front range or elsewhere. That head Public Defender seems pretty gutsy at least.

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