Former Steamboat business owners among group ordered to pay $7M for travel company scam
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A court recently ordered two former Steamboat Springs business owners and their relatives to stop their business activities and pay more than $7 million to the state of Colorado for their role in operating two travel companies from Broomfield that allegedly defrauded consumers.
The judgment against Stephen, Andrew, Bethany and Christian Wunder was first handed down in 2013.
But the total amount of that judgment recently increased and the Wunders were told to stop their business activities after one of the family members filed an appeal of the decision and lost, according to Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.
“These individuals cannot be trusted to run a business,” Coffman said of the Wunders in a news release this week announcing the new court order. “The court’s seven million dollar judgment and order barring them from working in this industry again will help protect Coloradans, however, I am concerned that these defendants may be continuing to operate in other states.”
Bethany and Andy Wunder briefly ran a food and alcohol delivery service in Steamboat in the winter of 2014.
He called complaints against the company and the allegations that it was a scam “ridiculous.”
He also said he and Bethany had moved to Steamboat to start their financial lives over and enjoy this community.
The Attorney General’s Office alleged there were at least 1,750 customers subjected to the Wunders’ deceptive business practices while they all worked at Sea to Ski Vacations in Broomfield.
Coffman’s office said the Wunder family promised members of their travel club deep discounts at exotic hotels and timeshares around the world.
But Coffman said the Wunders just searched online travel websites to book their clients’ travels.
The attorney general alleged that consumers paid the Wunders thousands of dollars for a service they could have gotten online for free.
Coffman’s office alleged Wednesday that the Wunders were continuing to charge consumers’ credit cards using a “web of LLCs and aliases to mask their business activities.”
The Wunder family members have since registered and operated businesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming “to hide their identities and squeeze as much money from unwitting consumers as they could,” according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Coffman said Bethany and Andy Wunder are thought to have moved to Austin, Texas, since leaving Steamboat.
An email sent to Christian Wunder wasn’t immediately returned on Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that working phone numbers for the Wunder family members could not be found this week.
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