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Custom home builders accused of defrauding customers millions of dollars avoid questions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Craftsman Homes and Interiors owners Dwight and Joni Mulberry ignored our questions about the nearly $3 million they are accused of stealing from dozens of customers.

KRDO13 Investigates confronted the home-building couple when they arrived at the El Paso County Courthouse on Thursday for a hearing on the dozens of felony charges they each face for theft, fraud, and money laundering. However, both of them ignored our questions about what they did with the millions of dollars in project funds they are accused of pocketing.

Court documents obtained by KRDO13 Investigates show the Mulberrys promised to pay back unpaid subcontractors and homeowners and wrote checks knowing there wasn’t enough money in their bank accounts.

KRDO13 Investigates tried asking the Mulberrys where the alleged stolen money went, but neither Dwight or Joni responded. However, arrest records claim they potentially gambled thousands of it. Those documents said the Mulberrys transferred money from their Craftsman Homes business bank accounts to their personal account before withdrawing thousands of dollars at ATMs inside Black Hawk and Cripple Creek casinos on multiple occasions.

“We've seen what they're capable of,” said Sandra Ewer, a Craftsman Homes customer. “They stole millions of dollars from and lied about it day after day. That's the worst of it to lie, lie, lie every single day.”

In court, their defense attorneys asked for another hearing date to give them more time to go through all the evidence in the case. That next court date is scheduled for May 13.

KRDO13 Investigates initially broke this story last July. Dozens of victims claim they paid the Mulberrys hundreds of thousands of dollars for custom homes, only for the Mulberrys to abandon the projects and run off with the money. Roger and Sandra Ewer paid the Mulberrys thousands in 2020 to build their dream home in Monument. However, the project remains unfinished.

“I want them to be thorough,” Roger Ewer said. “However long it takes, the outcome is never going to be us getting anything back. The outcome will be us getting justice.”

When customers first reported the incidents to law enforcement, they said they were told it was a civil matter, so many filed civil lawsuits. Then the Mulberrys filed for bankruptcy last March, so the alleged victims said they don’t expect to see their money back.

Following KRDO13 Investigates’ special report, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said it received a call from one of the victims, so the agency started to look into the allegations and slowly built a case.

“It was a big deal,” Roger Ewer said of KRDO13 Investigates’ reporting. “You guys took this case on when nobody else would.”

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office found that between 2021 and 2023 the Mulberrys stole, defrauded, and laundered nearly $3 million from 19 victims with likely even more affected. The couple is facing 43 total charges, including 22 counts of money laundering, six counts of fraud by check, 12 counts of theft, and three counts of securities fraud.

After court Thursday, the prosecution warned the victims those charges are parole-eligible.

“Really what we'd like to see is changes in the laws in Colorado so that there is not a probation-eligible charge for this kind of fraud, theft, and money laundering,” Sandra said.

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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