Alan DeAtley is 61-years-old. Instead of spending his golden years in comfort, he will be spending, presumably, the rest of his life in prison for scamming Colorado landowners out of $3.5 million.
The scheme DeAtley was running involved Colorado conservation easement program. The program offered tax credits, which could be bought and sold, to folks who placed conservation easements on their land and promising to never develop it, according to the Yakima Herald. DeAtley inflated the value of the tax credits and sold them to aloof buyers. They were salty when the state wouldn’t honor the credits when they tried to apply the credits to their taxes.
In several cases, DeAtley sold additional credits on property whose tax credits he already sold to other taxpayers, then pocketed $3.5 million in profits.
About 20 families were ultimately duped in the scheme, prosectors said. All were required to pay the original tax bill for which they had used the credits.
DeAtley is the first to be locked up over the flawed program, which has led to hundreds of Colorado landowners to lose thousands of acres. He was convicted in February on 22 charges, including forgery, theft and tax evasion. A count of relation to organized time carried the longest sentence (16 years) and the tax evasion charge was the shortest (1 year). Denver District Judge Martin Egelhoff ordered them all to be served consecutively.
Judge Egelhoff also ordered DeAtley to pay $6.9 million in restitution and penalties. According to the Post:
Egelhoff also said that while he thought DeAtley had “no realistic intention of paying restitution,” he would leave open any plan that could help repay the victims, some who lost more than $1 million in the scheme.
Victims don’t feel like they’ll ever get their money back, since DeAtley will be sitting in prison for so long. DeAtley agreed, saying, “Jail is no place to get anything done other than stay there.” He said it would be “extremely difficult” for him to work on a business plan behind bars.