Derecho contractor hasn’t paid victims back after pleading guilty to theft

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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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 in August 2022 against a Burlington-based contractor. But four months after he pled guilty, court records show Ryan Standard hasn’t paid any restitution to four different Cedar Rapids homeowners.

Records show Standard owes around $30,000 to four different Cedar Rapids homeowners after he took money to make repairs after the August 2020 Derecho and never performed the work. His probation, which was part of a plea agreement resulting in a 10-year prison sentence being suspended, hasn’t been revoked as of publication.

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 the Linn County Attorney’s Office didn’t file a document within 45 days. Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative team reached out to Standard’s attorneys throughout the case, but haven’t received a response.

The Department of Correction Services oversees people on probation. Bruce Vander Sanden, who is the director of the state agency covering Linn County, said the department considers court intervention if the person isn’t paying on purpose because a person in prison can’t pay back victims. He also said some probationers do not have the immediate ability to pay their restitution.

“In those cases, we exhaust all possible means to collect and if their non-payment is willful we will consider court intervention,” Vander Sanden said in an email. “If a probationer is revoked and sent to prison, they have no means of earnings and lose the ability to pay any restitution.”

Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks (D) said he plans on filing a contempt change if Standard doesn’t make a payment by the end of the month.

“We had been giving him the opportunity to work with his probation officer to start making payments but it appears he has not,” he wrote in an email.

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.”

Tom Haring, who also lives in Cedar Rapids, said he lost more than $9,000 and then needed to spend more money for another contractor to finish repairs to the siding of his home. He said he believes getting his money back is a form of justice, but is frustrated the process has taken more than a year.

“It makes you angry,” Haring said. “It makes you second guess if you made the right decision by going after him.”

Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Team obtained emails showing Standard wanted a letter from federal prosecutors saying they wouldn’t press charges while negotiating for a plea agreement. 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.