By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Attorney General’s office has shut down a Colorado solar energy company, but victims of an alleged scam artist say it’s a move too late to stop Kevin Ryder.
Ryder has been indicted by the Attorney General for 13 counts of securities fraud, and is also accused of scamming 15 Colorado residents in fake solar power deals. Combined, the AG’s investigation shows Ryder has taken $1.2 million from Colorado residents since 2009.
“I understand there’s a nationwide arrest warrant for this guy but he’s changing names and he’s moving,” said Joe Blackwell who has been trying to get investigators to look into Ryder since 2015. “I contacted everyone from the FBI to the AG, the DA and I filled out form after form and nobody was taking action. They sat on it, and they sat on it and they knew where he was and then he disappeared. I feel like they were dragging their feet.”
Ryder is now believed to be in California operating solar companies called “Rize Solar” or “Rize Power” and some believe he is now using the name Kevin Ott.
In Colorado, a CBS4 investigation found Ryder worked for a solar company to learn the ins-and-outs of the business, then set up companies called Guaranteed Solar, and Innersol Global. One victim says he targeted firefighters, police, EMS and teachers in the scam.
One customer says Ryder and his company installed solar panels on his roof, but the job was so poorly done the panels blew off the roof during a storm and damaged a neighboring house.
Blackwell says Ryder knew what he was talking about, but paid him $36,000 for work never done on two houses.
“He was well versed in what he was talking about. People coming out and measuring the roof and taking aerial pictures of the house. We looked into the company, it was a real company, I never thought to say ‘OK, now I need to investigate this individual,’” Blackwell said.
The Attorney General’s office says an arrest warrant is now issued for Ryder, but Blackwell thinks there are accomplices who are walking free including Ryder’s mother and girlfriend Diane Durbin.
Online websites like RipOffReport.com are littered with securities fraud stories about Ryder in Oklahoma and Colorado.
“I’ve got five different business cards from these individuals they showed up with embroidered shirts and contracts information that was researched. I understand now that’s all part of the scam,” said Blackwell.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office encourages anyone who knows of his whereabouts to contact the Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Section at (720) 508-6707.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.