26 June, 2013

In my mailbox today

From Judy Thompson (cheerylynndesigns.com)

Hello Valued Customers,

Michael and Bj Dywan, here, owners of Cheery Lynn Designs, with an important message that we hope you will take a moment to read.  We hope this message will help you avoid becoming a victim.

 Have you previously purchased dies from Happy Scrappy? Are you now buying dies from Crafty Ann?  The owners of these companies are Viktor and Inna Shmylenko.

Attached is an arrest record on Viktor Shmyhlenko.  Unfortunately, he is our former employee.

Viktor and his wife, Inna, are foreign nationals brought to the US by Michael to start their lives over in an atmosphere of opportunity.  Michael met Viktor while traveling in the Ukraine. He hired Viktor as a tour guide and interpreter. Then and over the next three years they forged a friendship and Michael helped Viktor obtain a limited work Visa. This was an opportunity of a lifetime for Viktor and his wife to have a better life. Little did we know how much of an opportunist Viktor would turn out to be! The opportunity quickly became another opportunity to take advantage of trust in order to advance themselves to a luxurious life.

Oh, and by the way, when the paperwork was started to obtain a work visa, Viktor was married to another woman. He divorced her and married Inna within a few short weeks prior to coming to the US. Inna has not been allowed to work in the US because she did not obtain a work Visa.

We (Michael and Bj) supplied the couple with a furnished apartment and a vehicle, helped them find their bearings in the US, and treated them like family. They shared many meals at our table and were included in holiday family gatherings. Viktor was a trusted employee, who was given the keys to our shop and free reign to come and go at will.

 Instead of being grateful, he utterly betrayed that trust. Within a short time, he moved from the apartment to a larger home, then later moved to a lavish home, but we never knew about it until his arrest.  He had told us that he was sharing a home with another Russian couple to save on expenses.

 Viktor set up a wholesale account with Cheery Lynn, under the name of Happy Scrappy, with a fake name and identity and fake resale license. He pretended to be Alex Domann, a deaf mute from Romania. The address he used for the business turned out to be a vacant building in Michigan. Then he proceeded to steal a staggering amount of dies over the course of the next two years and sold them on the Happy Scrappy site at huge discounts.

 The value of goods stolen was over $300.000.00. Viktor stole Cheery Lynn's customer list and used email flyers to contact the customers with sales promotions. Before his arrest in Sept 2013, he sold $46,000 worth of Cheery Lynn dies in the month of August alone!  Of course, he could offer huge discounts because he was selling stolen goods.

The police confiscated two computers from Viktor's home during his arrest, which revealed over 2,400 invoices, totaling $237,000 in sales of stolen Cheery Lynn dies! The detective told us that Viktor had 11 bank accounts!

When our employees saw all of the dies that we brought back from the police station that were confiscated from Viktor's home, they were astonished at the vastness of his greed.  They were angry and bitter and overwhelmed with emotion to think that someone among them had done such a thing. And to realize that this was just a small portion of what he stole and sold, that was even harder to comprehend! Those same hard working employees had to forgo raises and bonuses because Viktor was stealing the profits.

In September of 2012, Viktor was arrested and charged with a Class II felony. He was held without bail. He was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay restitution, starting in Oct 2013 of $2,000 a month for six years while being on 'intensive' probation. Given his history, we think it is highly unlikely we will ever receive any restitution.

This brings me to why we are writing you.  We have learned that, in November, 2012, Viktor's wife, Inna,  began another on-line business called Crafty-Ann. http://crafty-ann.com/   We strongly suspect that Viktor is involved in this business.

They ordered dies from China and with the help of Cheery Lynn Designs mailing lists, they have contacted our customers over the last six months.

There is a lot more to this story but for the sake of not writing a whole book, we have just covered a few of the important points. Our goal is to warn our friends and customers who are already buying product from Crafty Ann or might be considering doing business with them.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to call us.


Michael and Bj Dywan

Cheery Lynn Designs

Hope this can help!

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