Derecho contractor pleads guilty to theft after original charges dismissed

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After a technicality led to theft charges being dismissed, the Linn County Attorney’s Office found a way to secure a conviction against a Burlington-based contractor.

According to court documents, Ryan Standard will plead guilty to theft in the first degree as part of a plea deal. New charges were filed against him after our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team learned a judge dismissed multiple theft charges because his rights to a speedy trial were violated after a document wasn’t filed within 45 days.

Standard, according to prosecutors, received down payments to perform repairs after the 2020 Derecho and never returned to complete those repairs for multiple homeowners. Without a guilty verdict, those victims had no method to get their money back without spending money in a separate civil suit.

Stephen Kayfes, who lived in Northeast Cedar Rapids, said he paid Standard to fix his roof, garage and siding on his house for around $11,000. He said he delayed his retirement after spending additional money to find another contractor after Standard never returned to perform the work.

“Everybody around us was getting some work done,” he said in May. “But we were coming into the wintertime and we didn’t know if we had leaks on the roofs or not.”

Kayfes situation was one of four instances the Linn County Attorney’s Office use to file charges against Standard again in April under ongoing criminal conduct charges, which is a more significant felony.

Standard agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a suspended prison sentence, probation, and any possible victim restitution according to emails our i9 Investigative Team received between the victims and the Linn County Attorney’s Office. Those emails also show Standard is taking an Alford plea, which means a person maintains they’re innocent while acknowledging there is enough evidence to result in a conviction.

Molly Edwards, who is an assistant county attorney for the Linn County Attorney’s Office, said in emails Standard filed an Alford plea because he is afraid federal prosecutors will indict him and even attempted to ask for a letter saying the federal government wouldn’t prosecute him.

Both federal prosecutors for the Northern District of Iowa and Ryan Standard’s attorney’s didn’t respond to emails our i9 Investigative Team sent on Friday. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks (D) said in a written statement his office was pleased he was able to get a conviction against Standard while pursuing other avenues.

Kayfes said he’ll return to Iowa from Arkansas in October to give his victim impact statement at Standard’s sentencing. He said he’s concerned he’ll never get his money back and is frustrated about the process it took to get the conviction including his exclusion from a possible plea deal.

“We didn’t count,” Kayfes said. “It’s like we didn’t matter. It was more what was going to be the easiest way to get this guy.”

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