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Colorado sex offender busted for operating fake charity

By Logan Smith

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    SILVERTHORNE, Colorado (KCNC) — A Silverthorne man’s charity organizations were shut down last week after investigators discovered no proof that the donations he solicited from door-to-door sales resulted in any care packages being sent to active-duty American military service personnel stationed overseas.

The Colorado State Attorney General’s Office announced the settlement Thursday with 43-year-old Durand Kelby Tovar, the owner/operator of several companies named by state investigators which allegedly collected the donations.

According to case documents, Tovar operated four companies – First Choice Processing, Inc., Personal Carepackages, Direct Use Marketing Inc., and Priority Choice Marketing Inc. – since 2010. Tovar – sometimes personally and sometimes using hired workers – began collecting donations by going door-to-door in 2013 primarily in Summit County, per the AG’s filed complaint. Tovar claimed the donations would go toward snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation to U.S. services members deployed overseas. Tovar also advertised that his organizations distributed 10,000 such packages annually.

During sworn testimony, Tovar said he routinely purchased purchased snacks, socks, and other personal care items from Costco and other retailers to put into the flat rate boxes. Those boxes, he said, were then sent overseas via the United States Postal Service.

However, state investigators did not find proof of purchases made with either Costco or USPS in Tovar’s financial records dating back nearly three years.

Tovar also testified that his companies “have not sent anywhere near 10,000 care packages to military members or veterans,” as stated in the complaint. “(T)he Attorney General is unable to confirm that any care packages were sent to active duty military members or veterans since at least June 2021.”

Case documents also show the four companies were registered with the state as for-profit entities and not charitable organizations.

“Fake charities of any kind are wrong and illegal, but it’s especially despicable for someone to take advantage of those who want to support our active-duty service members, veterans, and their families,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser stated in a press release. “We owe those who serve our country a deep debt of gratitude, and we will hold accountable fraudsters who defraud service members and veterans for personal gain.”

The AG’s Office filed on Thursday both the case complaint and the settlement with Durand’s companies. The settlement includes an immediate permanent injunction restricting Durand’s companies from taking part if charitable solicitations or having any business relationship with other charitable organizations. It also orders Durand to pay $200 per month until he has repaid the state $20,000. If he fails to make those payments, Durand will be on the hook for a total of $50,000 and possible criminal charges.

In exchange, Durand’s companies can deny any liability or wrongdoing and are able to avoid the costs of additional litigation.

Durand, incidentally, is a registered sex offender. He has a profile on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s sex offender registery and is shown on a Summit County list of sex offenders residing there. The Summit County list was last updated in December.

Online public records indicate Tovar was arrested in 2017 on four felony charges of soliciting and attempting to solicit a child prostitute.

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