Felony Fraud & Conspiracy

Sunday afternoons I sit down with the newspaper (yes, people still read those).  There, in bold print on the front page was the teaser for the leading business story. “Burned Out Dream House,” it said. Most of the page of Business P1 was covered with the story, pictures of the house, and pictures of the men who had built it.  You can read the full story on the Denver Post website. I know one of those men. He is currently charged with felony fraud and conspiracy for his part in the alleged arson of the so-called dream home.

I first met Denver Haslam when I was producing a radio show and he called in for a topic called “I Shouldn’t Be Alive!” where he mesmerized us with his true tale of a skiing accident five years previous. He hit a tree. Broke most of the bones in his body. Punctured both lungs. Lacerated many of his other organs. The only thing he didn’t break was his heart (or his head, thanks to the helmet he was wearing). This miraculous survival would guide him to look out for others, to open his big heart to any charitable cause that came his way, to become an advocate for skiing safety and the poster child for wearing a helmet.

He would come to the station to claim his prize. With his disarming genuineness and his wide smile he would charm the receptionist into calling me to come down. We would meet, talk, hug. I would agree to go out with him. He would be the only person I would ever meet after hearing him tell his story to 200,000 listeners. When you live in the radio no one is real; they’re all just characters. The disembodied voices don’t have faces or feelings or mothers. They’re just people with 90 seconds of material. But this guy, I had to meet this one. I needed to know him.

We had a summer flirtation. It never turned into anything more than that. I was at a stage where my dating life was at warp speed, rotating through dates and men faster than farmers ever turn crops. He was too many things. Too nice. Too sweet. Too wounded. He’d been hurt before and I was convinced that I’d walk all over him. So we were really more like friends who happened to go on dates.

He was a bit of a enigma in all actuality. The kind of guy who seemed wildly successful except that he didn’t currently have a job. He was a business consultant. He was into racing and fixing up cars. He owned a home here and a condo in Texas. He was the co-owner of a multi-million dollar investment property, “A mansion,” he explained, “I own it with a group of guys. We’re working on getting it sold.” He loved his mother. He talked of going to grad school. He never drank alcohol. I felt like I knew him intimately, yet knew nothing about him at all.

We stayed in touch. On Halloween I called him, drunk, my feet bleeding from wearing idiot shoes to march around downtown in. He came and fetched me and my two equally drunk friends and drove us home. He made sure we got inside and were tucked in, ever the gentleman as always.

We’d make plans to see each other. Sometimes they wouldn’t happen. After his accident he slept odd hours of the day and night. Sometimes he would have bouts of insomnia that would last for days, at other times he would sleep for 36 hours straight. I’d think of him here and again and I’d call him or he’d call me. We’d text “Hope you’re well!” and the kinds of niceties you save for people whom you genuinely like but have no idea how to have real honest-to-god interpersonal relationships with.

“I’m scared,” one day he told me on the phone. “I might have to disappear for a while. Maybe go see my family. I think there are people after me.”

This was not the man I knew. The man who was always cheerful and optimistic, the man who survived a pine tree running straight through his middle and walked away from it. No. This man who I spoke to now was weary; he genuinely thought someone was trying to kill him. He couldn’t fully explain his paranoia, didn’t know how.

The last time I saw him it was winter, seven or more months ago. We had breakfast and talked about a creative project I was trying to get off the ground. He was his usual helpful and excited self; my success became his success. We didn’t talk about how he was sleeping or whether there was still a gun under his pillow. I didn’t ask. He seemed well and I wanted to keep picturing him that way.

So when I read the paper that fateful Sunday, two weeks ago now, I didn’t know how to react. Still don’t. I’ve written and re-written this blog post a half dozen times. I knew about the house he owned, knew that it had burned down. But this–to be charged with a felony–what am I supposed to do?

I started to write a text message, “I hope you’re well,” it reads. “I saw the paper.” I haven’t sent it yet. I don’t know what else to say. I selfishly don’t want to get too involved. I want everything to work out for my friend. Yet I don’t know how to support him without his crisis becoming my own.

He is a good man. I don’t believe he is capable of committing felony fraud or conspiracy. I think he got caught up with the wrong people being his helpful self. I feel helpless. Watching something happen to someone from afar like a coward.

4 Responses to “Felony Fraud & Conspiracy”

  1. angeleyes Says:

    I hung on his every word. He pulled me in with his sweet sensitive side and I fell for him in a big way. He also told me of his trouble with the house and as a matter of fact I was the place he was going to hide out, the place he was heading to. He spent a few days with me and promised me a world of great things for are future. I over looked the entire house thing in my heart I couldn’t believe he could do such a thing he was to smart to cute and so sweet. But he said one thing to me before he left that I couldn’t get past. He said”my ex borrowed me the money to get here but she thinks I went to texas” that hurt me so badly I couldn’t get over it. And you must have been the girl who was just a friend but could sleep in his bed and nothing would happen. I truly loved this guy with everything ounce of my being. But I had to lie and tell him I met someone else, because he made me feel so disposable and unwanted. I know he had been hurt,but we all have. I hope all is well for him I really do. And I hope he’s ok, I do find myself wondering and thinking about him often. Please let me know if he’s ok.

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    angeleyes Reply:

    He was found innocent of all charges. And I know it was a hell of a ride for him. As if life didn’t hand him enough he had to go through the years of finger pointing and accusations. I hope its over for him now and he can get on wth life.

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  2. Denver Haslam Says:

    Hello Leah,
    You are absolutely correct, I was attempting to learn about real estate and the individual who befriended and conned me, took advantage of me while I was desparately trying to recover from my multiple Traumatic Brain Injuries. A large portion of the facts were intentionally withheld from me, and I have been paying the price ever since. The article in which you are referring too was one of the threats being carried out by one of those despicable individuals, who gave a disingenuous account of what actually occurred.
    The Painful irony is that the DA made a gentleman’s agreement with my attorney, Stanley Marks. Esq., to NOT Charge me without speaking with him first, so that he could share particular evidence and facts vindicating me and clearly show the separation of intention, which existed between me and the other parties. Unbeknown to my attorney, the DA whom he made the agreement with passed the case onto another DA, Conveniently Neglecting to share the arrangement previously made. A 30 second conversation between the DA’s would have most likely prevented the charges from being filed against me. The 2nd DA gave a hollow “I’m sorry”, because they didn’t care whether they ruin someone’s reputation or life.
    In response to this, my attorney ripped her apart, during the preliminary hearing, with such a verbal clout; it was reminiscent of a Hollywood film. His efficacy resulted in the charges being thrown out, not just for me, but the others as well. Their attorneys didn’t even have a chance to speak. But, this was just the beginning of the avalanche of darkness that was about to consume me.
    Ironically, the misleading messages from “angeleyes” posted as responses to your kind blog of me was one of the primary fueling factors, which led to much more unnecessary suffering and unjust punishment towards me. As several of these individuals began colluding and fabricating other false accusations in an attempt too not only extort money from me, but to make me suffer for their own misdeeds and transgressions. I will conclude this message to you and write a separate one to “angeleyes” misleading responses.
    Thank you Leah for being a good friend and doing your best. It is these moments in life that test our character, so that we may rise above who we thought we were, to become the individual we have always felt deep within, but struggle to embrace. My only want from you, since day one, has been for you to find a deeper level of unconditional love within yourself.
    Sincerely, your friend,
    Denver Haslam

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  3. Denver Haslam Says:

    Joey-Marie,
    You have no concept of the destructiveness your compulsive lying has caused me. You saw me on TV and then proceeded to create a false reality in your own mind about me loving you. When I say I have love for you, I have love for every living soul in the universe, clearly a compulsive liar hears whatever supports their fairy tale.
    I did stop by to check on your safety, on my way to Texas, because you told me your life was in Mortal Danger and were in hiding, because you couldn’t go to the police, because your ex-husband was one. It took me a few days to truly understand the depth of your deception, so you are 100% correct, I did NOT want you, and even if you “think” I did, “You” did NOT exist. You created a false life, false identity, sending me multiple fake pictures of you, your fabricated situations and sob stories, lie after lie, including the ridiculous like your car being awd, when they never even made one. That really showed me just how lost and disconnected you were. I left devastated and upset, because of the time and sacrifices I made to help you.
    All I have ever tried to do is love and protect others and you took advantage of my compassion at one of the lowest times in my life, with your boundless deception.
    Your CURRENT husband and I spoke after I returned from Texas, at length, about your condition, illnesses and self destructive behavior causing your excessive weight gain and delusional interpretation of life. I made a few loving suggestions to him in the hope you get the help you so desperately need.
    My diabolitcal, abusive ex took your false reality from your post too heart, as if I cheated on her which I never did, not even remotely. Our level of intimacy never surpassed a cautious hug when I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on when I arrived.
    My heart has been battered beyond recognition, hardened by layers of scar tissue, from the ill-intended who have taken from me as if beyond reproach, a couple from specific exes, the loss of my loved ones and animals whom I still suffer from everyday, and a few others, none of them are from you.
    I left you and went to Texas to pick up a ring for my now ex-girlfriend, whom I regretfully still love completely and unconditionally, and always will, even though she treated me like dirt. She subsequently stole all my animals, many of my possessions, made countless threats, fabrications and even conspired with the individual whom was spoken of in the house article; in an attempt to have me falsely imprisoned for 10 years. The irony is that all the money I spent on legal, I was planning on paying for the rest of her schooling, get her braces(she wanted them), 4×4 vehicle for winter, a more elaborate ring, on and on. Since all this, I have lost all material possessions, but retained the one thing all of you despicable people have lost, connection with my soul, bc I will never compromise that for anyone. Instead, I will continue helping others through the spread of my love and light. So, the more darkness all of you attempt to drown me in is futile, because I will simply respond with becoming brighter to share my unconditional love with all those who are open too receiving it.
    Who have any of you loved lately, besides yourself?

    All I will ever want from anyone is for them to love themselves more unconditionally, nothing more, whatever someone chooses to give me beyond that, I will be grateful for.
    All my Unconditional Love and Light to all those open to it,
    Denver Haslam

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