Is Ryan Sumstad a Con Man, a Killer or Both?

Categories: Cover Story

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Christie and Ryan Sumstad, before her death
In June, four months after Christie Sumstad of Spring was found dead in her home, Montgomery County authorities charged her husband Ryan with murder. Unable to post bond, Sumstad has been sitting in jail; prosecutors have not yet presented the case to a grand jury.

Sumstad's sister Jill, who was close with Christie and who discovered her body, may have suspected something, because she requested a copy of the autopsy report in May. Because the case was (and is) pending, the report wasn't released, but the response to Jill's request revealed that it took months for the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office to send its findings to Montgomery County. By that time, Sumstad had his wife's body cremated.

Some of Christie's friends thought it was strange that Sumstad didn't have her buried; they also questioned what they considered strange behavior following her death -- selling off furniture, redecorating the home, dating. Curious, some friends looked online to see if they could find out anything about Sumstad they may not have known. What they found on one consumer advocacy site was that Sumstad had allegedly swindled investors around the country out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. One man in Florida who got sucked up in Sumstad's scheme killed his family after he discovered the truth, police say.

It turns out that, for years, Sumstad had crafted an online presence touting himself as a bigshot venture capitalist. How much Christie may have known about it is unclear.

Sumstad's attorney wouldn't make his client available for the story, but he says he'll be able to prove Sumstad's innocence. There is still no clear indication that Christie was even murdered, according to the lawyer.

Now all the families can do is impatiently wait for a trial, when they hope the truth will be revealed.

Read this week's feature "Bad Business" for more.


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8 comments
JimNisley
JimNisley

W Brant Wallace, Jason Miller and Sacha Spindler are complete FRAUDS.

 

If you spend a day, “googling” Brant Wallace, reading his background, companies, affiliates and the like, you will discover that he is a professional CON MAN, and all his affiliates quickly become evident.

furniture stores Corpus Christ
furniture stores Corpus Christ

 One of the major malls in Marbella and the Eastern Costa del Sol is the commercial centre of La Canada. You can spend an entire day at this mall on the Costa del Sol which is very similar to the U.S. The dining area has approximately 10 restaurants. The stores include what exactly might be interesting for Marbella residents and visitors: the most famous clothing brands or exclusive shops for interior design. A multiplex cinema with the current blockbusters is also a good option to end the day.

Jaren
Jaren

BrantWallace is a complete fraud and was in on this whole scam along with Ryan Sumstadthe whole time. Consider him  to be oneof the ring leaders. Comes across as being this brilliant PhD qualified businessprofessionals and uses notable charities and foundations as ways to build falsetrust. I know these guys pretty well as they came my way some time ago proposingto sell Eagle International Commutations some time ago. I found it all to besmoke and mirror. They also claim to be big investors with billions in assetsready to write checks and W Brant Wallace has clever ways of convincing youhe's more trustworthy and reliable than gold.  All lies. These guys arethe epitome of evil and relish themselves in the occult and nazi ideology. Theylove darkness. Consider Brant Wallace, Jason Miller and the others to benothing more than a bunch of Bernie Madoffs, and you can take that to the bank.Did some research and found some of Brant's education credentials to be false. 

Guestes
Guestes

If this was just a case of 'a bad economy', why was he still talking about a multi-million dollar funding that he had to build an entire new community in New Orleans...and he was in awe no one wanted to jump into this with him? 

Matt Bradshaw
Matt Bradshaw

Bad Journalism

There is an old saying, “Don’t let the truth or the factsget in the way of a good story.”  I had aphone interview with Craig concerning what I knew about Ryan’s businessdeals.  I will start off the same waythat I started off the interview.  I haveno information about the murder charges against Ryan.  I don’t live in Houston and only talked toRyan occasionally.  Every time we sawRyan and Christie, we got the Brady Bunch version.  I never saw them fight or argue.  I have no information as to what happened inHouston when we were not there.  I amreserving final judgment until I hear the evidence.  I have thoughts about the charges but I don’thave the information necessary to make an educated judgment.  I believe that is what the courts are for.

I was open and honest with Craig about everything I knewabout the business dealings.  When weended our conversation I made a comment to him that it was probably not theinformation he wanted because it would not make as good of a story.  Craig told me that it might be more of astory of someone reaching beyond their capabilities versus a story of scam andtheft.  Of course, the majority of ourinterview did not merit entry in this article. Most of what did make it in was vastly contorted.  So much for journalistic integrity.  I guess whatever sells the story include, therest contort or leave out.  I calledCraig and of course he defends his stories (even the several mistakes that hemade that are now corrected after I told him about them).  I wanted to give my side, my opinion, myknowledge of what I know of the business deals and how they went south.  I don’t know if this comment will remain onthe site long but I felt the need to say my piece.

I have included copied text from the article and I wanted tofill in some of the “facts” that Craig failed to research, include, or simplydistorted.

A West Point graduate who played offensive guard on theacademy's football team, Ryan Sumstad stood more than six feet tall and weighedaround 250 pounds.

                Ryanwas in the football program the summer before our freshman year.  He lost too much weight and never actuallyplayed football, ever, for West Point. Not a big deal in the scope of the article but I merely wanted to pointout the lack of fact checking by Craig. It sounds much better to showcase Ryan as this huge football player thatliked to smash the defensive line.  Sorry…justnot true.

The couple lived check-to-check, and Bradshaw says he lentSumstad money just so he could pay whatever IEV employees remained.

                This isa big distortion of the truth from our interview.  I explained that Ryan and the employees ofIEV had put a lot of their personal money into making the HSBC in-ground assetdeal work.  Several of the IEV employees madepersonal loans to pay for attorney’s fees and paperwork associated with thedeal.  Ryan was a little fish trying to playin a big pond and he was trying to keep the company together long enough forthe deal to go through.  I lent Ryanmoney while the deal was proceeding so that his employees could still getpaychecks while they were waiting for the deal to close.  I figured that it was a small investment in acompany that I thought I was going to work with.  Of course now I am stuck with the remainingbalance of these loans that Ryan had been paying.

 

With the couple in financial freefall, Sumstad ramped anearlier idea into overdrive: In 2007 he had flooded online business-to-businesspublications with press releases touting IEV's completion of a $1.83 billionventure capital fund. Although it doesn't appear that the fund ever existed,the ubiquitous announcements branded Sumstad as a bigshot.

                Theoriginal article listed the deal as $1.83 million until I notified Craig of hismistake.  He has since changed thismis-fact.  The deal was reported onseveral newswires to include:

http://www.wirelessestimator.c...

There are several key factors that I mentioned to Craig butthat he failed to mention in this article.  I am pasting the email that I sent to Craig:

Some other things you might want to look into.  As Iwas doing some research I started remembering some of the names involved insome of these deals.  Ryan's mentor was named Brant Wallace.  Ryanhad told me that Brant had the certificates, degrees, and experience to help inthese big deals.  Ryan had an employee named Jason Miller that worked forIEV in most of these deals.  He is the person that got IEV the deal withEagle International Communications.  I have attached some links to showsome of the business dealings between these two as well as someone named SachaSpindler.  Jason Miller and Brant Wallace are now connected and both workfor Eagle as well as other venture capital companies.  Some of thesecompanies have current lawsuits against them.  I don't know if this meansanything but it helps show why Ryan thought he would be able to accomplish someof these big deals and why some of them failed.  Have a good night.

Matt

www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us...

Brant WallaceSacha Spindler

http://www.reuters.com/finance...

Jason MillerSacha Spindler

http://www.hotstocked.com/8-k/...

Brant WallaceJason Miller

http://www.thenewswire.ca/arch...

Brant WallaceJason Miller

 

Of course, IEV would need closing costs from each landowner, ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 a pop — a drop in the bucket compared tothe fortune the owners stood to reap.

                This isanother misstatement of the facts.  Icorrected him when we talked but he did not fix it in the article.  These were not “closing costs”, they wereengagement fees.  This is even explainedin all the ripoff reports that Craig claimed to have read.  These fees were collected at the beginning ofthe process, not at closing. 

However, IEV wouldn't be doing the actual lending, nor theservicing of loans. This was to be done by Principal Financial Growth, acompany Sumstad created out of thin air.

                Onceagain this is another misstatement of fact. The actual lending company was going to be American Synergy.  I guess all the research did not turn up thatnugget.  Ryan had set up American Synergyas a separate company from IEV because of the size of the deal.  Once the deal went through, then AmericanSynergy would handle the distribution of the funds.  Principal Growth was created to handle the repaymentsof the loans.  Every company is createdon paper before it functions in real life. That is how business society works.

The company's CEO was Sumstad's friend, Bradshaw.

                I triedto explain this to Craig.  Once the dealwent through, I was going to be hired as the Vice President of Principal Growthto handle the repayment of the loans. Since the loans never materialized, Principal Growth had no furtherfunction and I never worked for Ryan. Ryan is listed as the CEO of Principal Growth.  This is another fact that Craig distorts tomake the story sounds better. 

While Principal's letterhead claimed the company was inWilmington, Delaware, all calls were routed to Bradshaw, a pharmaceutical repliving in Victoria.

                I amsure that every corporation headquartered in Delaware is actually set up inDelaware.  Craig should look at a map tosee that Delaware isn’t even big enough to house all of the corporations thatare licensed there.  Favorable tax lawsmake Delaware a prime state for incorporation. The second part of this statement is a complete fabrication on Craig’spart to make his story sound better.  Inever had one call forwarded to me.  Oneinvestor found my home number and called my house.  I told him the same story I told Craig.  From this Craig somehow gained the “fact”that every call was routed to me.  Istill had a day job.  I, like everyoneelse, was waiting for the deal to go through before I quit my day job.

Bradshaw told the Press that Sumstad genuinelybelieved he would get the money from HSBC so he could make everyone rich offthe gold. He wanted to include his West Point buddies, and all Bradshaw had todo was pretend to be the vice president of a company that didn't exist.

                Thefirst sentence is worded very poorly. Ryan thought that the deal would go through.  He thought that everyone, to include RNJ andthe mine owners, would reap the benefits of the deal.  The reason that he was looking for “West Pointbuddies” was because he was stabbed in the back on previous deals (see the$1.83 billion deal listed above).  Ryanwanted to work with people he knew and trusted. The last sentence I guess I must have been riding a unicorn over arainbow when I talked to Craig.  I didn’thave to pretend to be anything.  Iassisted in the deal with the future promise of employment in Principal Growthonce the deal funded.  When the dealfailed to fund, Principal Growth and my role ceased to exist.  Another thing to note on the timing of thefall of this deal is the crash of Wall Street: http://www.scribd.com/doc/6065...

Wall Street crashed in Sept 2008.  This is the time when the deal wentsouth.  HSBC further documented that theywere ceasing all loans and assets to the United States.

One of those partners was a Florida man named Neal Jacobson.Jacobson shot and killed his wife and twin seven-year-old sons in January 2010.In a letter explaining his actions, Jacobson wrote: "I...believe that muchof the correspondence Ryan Sumstad put out was false and [led] myself and manygood people down a dead end path."

                Theoriginal article stated that the police indicated that Neal killed his familybecause of Ryan.  This has since beenchanged.  Neal is still on trial for thetragedy that he caused.  He had many problemsleading to the tragedy to include being far in debt due to mortgageproblems.  His own “suicide” lettertalked about going from over $2 million in assets to over $2 million in debtbefore he ever met Ryan.  Craig pulledone quote from the suicide letter to make his story sounds better.  I include a link to the entire suicideletter:  http://www.palmbeachpost.com/m...Neal Jacobson recently tried to claim the defense that he was on powerful psychdrugs that caused him to go crazy.  Ithink pulling one quote from a five page letter to make your story soundsbetter is not the best journalism.

A week later, he went to Atlanta for InvaderCON, aconvention for fans of an animated show called Invader Zim. "Headedhome after 48-hrs.of fun, silliness, laughterand DOOM at InvaderCon," Sumstad tweeted.

                Just anote.  Ryan’s children’s favorite show isInvader Zim.  He went to the conferencefor them.

According to Christie's friends, Sumstad granted power ofattorney to his friend and former business partner Mark Flynn, who moved intothe Sumstad home.

                It ismy understanding that Mark Flynn, whom I have never met, did not move into thehouse but cleared it out.  Of course ifMark moved into the house it would sound better for Craig’s story.  Like I said at the beginning of this comment,don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

MadMac
MadMac

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Matt Bradshaw
Matt Bradshaw

MadMac...I know I protest to much.  But come on...I know the bard had to have some quotes about guys that you could have used :)  I was just upset that my words were omitted, twisted, or fabricated to make the story sound better.  Although, I don't know what I should have expected.  I was pretty pissed and went point to point to show the inaccuracies and flights of fancy taken by the reporter.  Some anger and a laptop can make for a long comment.  It reinforces never to talk to journalist if you want the truth to actually come out.

MadMac
MadMac

Mr. Bradshaw, I fully appreciate your point here and some of your points above. Any one using the term, "the plain and simple truth," has never been witness to a trial or policy debate, or apparently, a newspaper article.

And I don't have a dog in this fight, just an opinion. But I cringe at statements in which you veer, (seemingly) to defense of people you say you don't know regarding incidents you claim no/minimal knowledge of. You're an Army guy so you may not be familiar with the Navy saw: you may not have done it, but you were there.

My drift is, from a business standpoint, this is like getting caught with a group of guys and a fat girl in the dorm shower, (not that I would know about those kinds of things) you want to be as LESS there as possible. Your statement, (which is almost as long as the article) puts you in the middle of this (at least questionable business practices) and let me remind you that a minimally-invasive google search of your name is likely to turn up this article and your comments.

As for a "guy" quote from the bard, two come to mind. "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war," (hire an attorney to see if this article is actionable). Or "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse," (get the h3ll out of Dodge and distance yourself from this mess). Either way, courage and good fortune to you, sir.

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