Curt Taufen

Courtesy photo

Curt Taufen

Couple sentenced for Routt County construction scam

Taufens stole an estimated $950,000 from local victims

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— Two Routt County victims were disappointed to learn Friday that a Kremmling man will not serve time in prison after he stole an estimated $950,000 from them in a construction scam.

“I’m upset about the outcome,” victim Pat Boyer said. “I’m glad he got the 22 years’ probation. I’m disappointed he didn’t get the prison time.”

Judge Shelley Hill sentenced Curt Taufen and his wife, Jill Taufen, after they pleaded guilty to felony theft. Hill said it was her ultimate goal to make sure the Taufens paid the victims back the money they stole. A prison sentence could limit their ability to repay the victims, and Hill said white-collar criminals end up serving a small amount of time in prison because of overcrowding.

“It will do no good to send Mr. Taufen to prison because he will be out in a second,” Hill said.

Curt Taufen was thought to have led the fraud with his wife as an accomplice.

During sentencing, Connie Harvey, an 80-year-old widow who owns a ranch off Routt County Road 64, told the judge how the Taufens took $634,000 from her. Harvey hired the Taufens’ company, Distinguished Builders, to build a house on her ranch for an employee and his family in 2008.

“This was the beginning of a still unending nightmare,” Harvey said.

Taufen never followed through on building the home.

Boyer also hired Taufen to build a home, which was not completed, and Boyer said Taufen took $314,000 of his money.

On Monday, the Taufens pleaded guilty to theft in Summit County for stealing $329,000 from a woman who hired Distinguished Builders in 2009 to build a home.

Boyer told the judge that investigators told him there are other victims and that the Taufens stole millions.

“My sense is that this started small and steamrolled, and you didn’t know how to stop it,” Hill said to Curt Taufen during sentencing. “It was not only wrong and sinful, it was highly criminal.”

The Taufens were ordered to repay the victims, and the exact amount will be determined during a hearing at a later date.

“I’ve never had a case with this much restitution,” Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said.

Hill sentenced Curt Taufen to 30 days in Routt County Jail and 22 years’ supervised probation. In Summit County, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 10 years’ probation.

Hill sentenced Jill Taufen to three years’ supervised probation and 200 hours’ community service. Unlike her husband, she was given a deferred judgement and sentence, meaning the felony will not appear on her record if she successfully completes the terms of her probation. In Summit County, she was sentenced to five days in jail and four years’ probation.

The lengthy probation sentences were handed down as a way to ensure the victims are paid back. If the Taufens are unable to make restitution payments, it will be considered a violation of their probations.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

John St Pierre 2 years, 10 months ago

"never had a case with this much restitution" How is it they steal 1.2 million and no jail time to speak of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Probabtion???????????? Why is it in this town your stealunlimited amounts of money and never get Jail time?????? Restitution???? How is that going to happen??? who will hire either one of these scam artist??????

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dave reynolds 2 years, 10 months ago

they will never be able to pay all the money back they stole from their victims in Routt and Summitt counties....heck honest people are struggling to pay their bills right now what makes the judge think these criminals will do any better..wonder if it was her money if things would be different

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Oscar 2 years, 10 months ago

As long as we keep electing/appointing liberal judges, we will have more and more criminals turned back out on the street to pray on the public. The old saying that "crime does not pay" no longer is applicable in our liberal society. Then again, this offense committed by this judge pales in comparison to the judges that are turning rapists, sex offenders, child molesters, murders, thugs, etc. back out on the street to commit more heinous crimes.

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Troutguy 2 years, 10 months ago

So true. We must stop these Conservative Republican Governors from appointing Liberal judges.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like it's the law, not the judge, that's the problem if this is accurately quoted: “It will do no good to send Mr. Taufen to prison because he will be out in a second,” Hill said.

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thalgard 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah Oscar the grouch, Ms. Hill was appointed by Bill Owens...a liberal he is not.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 10 months ago

Oscar That should be "prey", not "pray". Very large difference in the two words.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 10 months ago

If they owe all this money, they will never really work again. The state will probably support them from now on. Money should never be paid up front in construction, if it is required, it is best to look elsewhere. The only way to ever achieve justice would be to tattoo "Crook" across their foreheads. I guess that is why I never passed the bar exam.

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bill schurman 2 years, 10 months ago

Judge Hill is no liberal. She thinks like prosecutors that " they would be out in a second". In fact, Colorado sentencing law is quite clear that you HAVE to serve 40-50 % of your sentence to BECOME parole eligible, and, even then almost no one is released on parole upon meeting the parole board for the first time. When granted parole the term is a mandatory fixed term depending upon the class of the felony. This sentence clearly offends me as the former Public Defender as I have had clients go to prison for MUCH lesser crimes.Poor people do the time the white collar crooks get probation. This sentencing is especially egregious as these crooks committed not just one crime but spread it around Colorado amongst several victims, including the elderly. To think that there will be restitution is laughable.

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rhys jones 2 years, 10 months ago

So where does the money trail lead? Where is this money NOW???

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Jeff_Kibler 2 years, 10 months ago

Bill makes a good point. The tazed naked guy will likely spend more time in jail than these scum.

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John St Pierre 2 years, 10 months ago

Would be nice if The Pilot would ask for, no insist on..... an interview with the judge and ask why this sentence.......

Why is it everyone who steals money in this town walks??????????? The Loggers lane case.... the 2 ladies who stole founds from the banks... etc.....

I cannot see why the judge cannot explain herself......... if I get caught and know I just have to give the money back.... thats a hell of a free interest loan.....

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

"Because sentance against an evil work is not executed speedily; therefore the heart of the sons of man is fully set [set up... like concrete] in them to do evil."

Eccleasiastes 8:11

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lenny gawlinski 2 years, 10 months ago

Wow you can steel a lot of money and get no jail time. We need to stop putting people in jail for petty crimes , use the jail for real criminals. I am spending jail time now and almost every one in jail is in for doing a less than these two did. I have ran into a lot of " contractors'' who think they can get away with stuff .OH ! They can.
PS the jail water is awful it taste like chemicals , and the prisoners should have better water until it gets corrected and the great new solar water system is so hot the prisoners can not get under the shower water with out getting burned. Why would you want to put a real criminal in jail, i bet this couple has a lot of money that helped them stay out of jail. ( oops I guess the lady got some time for her part in it )
I am sure the naked guy will be in jail for a while .Whats worse - running around naked or steeling lots of money - check out the 10 commandments thou shalt not steel or was that thou not drive with a license plate light out while driving naked. Unfair- Unjust and Unbelievable I will be depressed in jail this week thinking of my petty crime and how these people got off . WHY WHY WHY until I cry myself to sleep

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lenny gawlinski 2 years, 10 months ago

I have to do jail time and I have a chronic illness and they can not give me the care I need while in jail. But I can not get out of it . I did not steel , rape or rob anyone , I am NOT a criminal ! I have not had an arrest for over 20 years and I did not get off on probation I am in the slammer doing weekends . I asked the judge for a home arrest to care for myself and my 85 year old mother who I care for daily , his response was to put her in a nursing home while i serve my time . THERE IS NO JUSTICE AND TO HEAR THAT A CRIMINAL GETS OFF JUST MAKES ME MORE DEPRESSED Did someone get paid off in this case ?

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Phoebe Hackman 2 years, 10 months ago

Lenny- Apparently, you are "doing time" for driving stoned, which was a poor decision on your part, so stop whining. You're lucky you're only doing weekends. I do, however, completely empathize with your concern for your mom. I am currently in Seattle, taking care of my 88 year old mom, but if I were in the Boat, I would help you with her. I hope you have friends, neighbors or other family members helping. Maybe someone in the forums knows of an agency or kindhearted person that could step in during the weekends when you're gone? I agree that those scum bags did not get justice; you can only hope karma does its job. As for you, take a deep breath, pull up your big boy pants and get through it. And think twice before you get behind the wheel of a car impaired again. Peace and good luck.

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lenny gawlinski 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for empathizing and concern for my mother. Sorry I made the whiney comments.Still no one sentenced to jail should have to drink foul tasting water , suffer from dehydration and inadequate conditions and poor health care. Karma has worked (in strange ways) we are getting more help then I ever thought possible. My Mom and myself are doing well and I will be depressed when in the baggy jail pants . What ever you or justice think, I was not stoned or impaired when I was pulled over . Hope you and yours are well

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