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Old 06-26-2013, 06:02 PM   #1
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Default Cheery Lynn Dies - Fraud Alert

I just got an email from the owners of Cheery Lynn Designs, who make Cheery Lynn Dies. One of their former employees stole dies from them and also mailing lists.

Do not order from Happy Scrappy, or Crafty-Ann, as these companies were started by the thieves to sell the stolen merchandise.

I am quoting the email in full below.

" 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, Viktorís wife, Inna, began another on-line business called Crafty-Ann. Crafty Ann 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.

Sincerely,
Michael and Bj Dywan
Cheery Lynn Designs
877-897-7575"
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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I got this email too. So sad to think that someone would take advantage of people who were so kind to him. I have ordered from Cheery Lynn Designs but luckily never from Happy Scrappy!
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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I did some research for myself and thought the email was legit. But I decided to contact the Cheery Lynn company to be sure. I just got this response:

Hi Annette,

Yes, it is indeed legit. We have all the documents to prove it.

Thank you for being cautious.


Bj Dywan
Cheery Lynn Designs ~Dies Direct
602-385-4126
887-897-7575
bjdywan@aol.com
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:25 PM   #4
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Bugga, thank you for posting the email. I had just received it and was thinking of doing the same thing. The Dywans must feel so betrayed and violated. While we all like to get the best price, this situation is a good lesson in thinking twice -- if it's too good to be true, there is probably a reason.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:25 PM   #5
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I had heard about "Crafty Ann" a while back and a less detailed version of the story, so this was not news to me when I got the Dwyans' email today. I think I originally heard about this before the sentencing of this Shmyhlenko character, so of course they can be more forthcoming with the details now that the trial is over. I am glad they sent the email out to their customer list. I would never knowingly buy stolen goods, but at the same time I have been taking advantage of great internet prices lately, since I am moving out of the US soon. Good prices would have been tempting.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:30 AM   #6
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Just in case anyone out there is considering ordering from these people anyway (overcome by the lure of deep discounts) - think about this:

Do you really want someone like this to have your credit card or checking account information?
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #7
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WOW! How terrible! Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope they find a way to shut the wife's business down, too. It blows me a way how deceitful people can be.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:35 PM   #8
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I'm still confused. Is Cheery Lynn saying that the Crafty Ann dies are actually stolen Cheer Lynn dies? craftsulove.co.uk/craftyann.htm They aren't designs I remember seeing before on the Cheery Lynn site. But now that I'm looking at them they do look like they have a similar style to the Cheery Lynn designs. Or are they saying that the wife of their former employee is now in the die manufacturing business and they want us to know that they are deceitful people. If the same graphic artist designed for both companies that might explain why they look like they are made in the same style. But that would also mean that completely innocent third parties may end up paying the price. I haven't bought from CraftsULove but it looks like a completely legitimate on-line business and a quick google search brings up a bunch of other on-line retailers that are distributing Crafty Ann dies some of which also distribute Cheery Lynn dies. If these are stolen Cheery Lynn dies then they are selling stolen property. If the deceitful people that use to work for Cheery Lynn owned these dies than the retailers that bought them to resell should be allowed to sell them and recoup what ever money they can. Either way there will be legitimate retailers caught in the middle.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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I'm still confused. Is Cheery Lynn saying that the Crafty Ann dies are actually stolen Cheer Lynn dies? craftsulove.co.uk/craftyann.htm They aren't designs I remember seeing before on the Cheery Lynn site. But now that I'm looking at them they do look like they have a similar style to the Cheery Lynn designs. Or are they saying that the wife of their former employee is now in the die manufacturing business and they want us to know that they are deceitful people. If the same graphic artist designed for both companies that might explain why they look like they are made in the same style. But that would also mean that completely innocent third parties may end up paying the price. I haven't bought from CraftsULove but it looks like a completely legitimate on-line business and a quick google search brings up a bunch of other on-line retailers that are distributing Crafty Ann dies some of which also distribute Cheery Lynn dies. If these are stolen Cheery Lynn dies then they are selling stolen property. If the deceitful people that use to work for Cheery Lynn owned these dies than the retailers that bought them to resell should be allowed to sell them and recoup what ever money they can. Either way there will be legitimate retailers caught in the middle.
I reread the email just now. It says that the wife of the thief started another business called Crafty Ann, and ordered dies from China. Who knows how ethical the manufacturers in China may be. They may have the means to make the same dies that Cheery Lynn does, and could be selling the dies to Crafty Ann, who is turn sells them to unsuspecting retailers, who then sell them to unsuspecting customers.

And yes, I agree that it doesn't seem fair that the retailers should be left with "stolen" stock that they bought in good faith and cannot easily sell to people who know about this. That may just be a cost of doing business, and knowing your suppliers that you deal with. I understand that the "knock-off" dies are usually sold much cheaper, probably to the retailers, too. If they got a deal on their inventory that seemed "to good to be true" and it turned out to be stolen merchandise, I think that is a shame, but maybe they should have investigated how Crafty Ann was able to sell them the dies so cheaply.

At any rate, this was just an informational email from Cheery Lynn. People are still free to buy dies from Crafty Ann and retailers who carry their dies, if they want to do so. Now that I know the situation, I would not purchase Crafty Ann dies from whoever is selling them.

Cheery Lynn can only attempt to get the word out to customers on their mailing list, and probably to retailers they have dealt with. They cannot stop anyone from buying dies by Crafty Ann.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:42 PM   #10
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Should the dies that anyone purchases from ANYONE turn out to be proven as "stolen goods" it is my understanding (and I may be wrong but I don't think I am) that you could be charged with receiving stolen goods.

Is it likely? Not very likely at all. But it is technically possible.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:44 PM   #11
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As for the Crafty Ann, I thought the email inferred that the Crafty Ann dies were stolen "designs" rather than dies, but I couldn't be sure.
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:47 AM   #12
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Yes, now that I've read it again I think you are right. The stolen Cheery Lynn dies were the ones they sold when they were running Happy Scrappy. I bought some from Happy Scrappy in the spring of 2012. I think they were 40% off but with Joann's and other's with their 40% off coupons it would be hard to tell if I was getting an unbelievably good deal or just a regular good deal I knew they must have gotten that email address from Cheery Lynn because no one else had that one so it seemed odd but I double checked on this board and lots of people had ordered from them without any problems. It kinda sucks that they were most likely stolen goods. I guess the Shmyhlenko's decided to stay in the craft die business (not too bright considering the husbands previous theft) and are running Crafty Ann with dies they sourced from China. I hope the company in China got their money up front. I'm sure they will find it much harder to run a successful business if they actually have to pay for their inventory instead of just stealing it. It's too bad though, the dies on the Crafty Ann site are very nice and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the artist that designed those dies is the same person that design all of my favorite Cheery Lynn Dies who ever he or she may be. If you follow Cheery Lynn's new releases and Michael Dywan great youtube videos you can really see that more than one person does the designing. They have some stiff almost child like dies, then some great geometrics that looked like an engineer designed them and then my favorites that were soft freestyle designs that looked a lot like the Dutch paper craft designers like Marianne's and Nellie's. I know that Cheery Lynn isn't a real person but when they use names like that as company names you tend to start giving the pretend person character. Because of the different design styles I've always envisioned Cheery Lynn as a nice but slightly crazy person with two heads. The Michael head can't pick out two coordinating pieces of card stock if his life depended on it (he admits to this on many of his youtube videos) but he can take apart and fix your big shot in less than 10 seconds. And an unseen but softer gentler head that helped to create some beautiful dies. Now I can't help but imagine the gentle head turning into a huge vicious fire breathing dragon that stabs Mike in the back 20 times. Then with greedy green eyes blazing and huge outstretched wings it gathers up a massive pile of Cheery Lynn dies and heads out the door leaving the Mike head alive but injured. Aren't you glad I normally just lurk on this board and do not post lol. I'm really hoping I'm wrong and that the person who designs the dies that I like so much still works for Cheery Lynn and they will come out with tons of new dies I love. I'm not really comfortable ordering from the greedy fire breathing dragon thief. But I may buy some from an online retailer that ended up stuck with Crafty Ann stuff before they knew the whole story. Is there anyone who worked on the Cheery Lynn Design team that knows more about who the artists are that designs the dies. I know that Mike is very involved in the manufacturing of the dies and is constantly making improvements. Very little if anything of theirs comes from China. I wasn't sure if BJ does most of the designing or if she manages the office, their webpage and blog. Of course it is none of my business I was just curious.

Hugs, Tracy
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chautona View Post
Should the dies that anyone purchases from ANYONE turn out to be proven as "stolen goods" it is my understanding (and I may be wrong but I don't think I am) that you could be charged with receiving stolen goods.

Is it likely? Not very likely at all. But it is technically possible.
Possession of Stolen Property can only get you charged if you KNEW it was stolen when you bought it... otherwise you are FINE!
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
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Possession of Stolen Property can only get you charged if you KNEW it was stolen when you bought it... otherwise you are FINE!
KelliJo, I did a little bit of internet research on this subject, and found that it is very complicated, and there is no one answer. The laws about stolen property are pretty clear for Federal laws, but the state laws are very murky, and vary from state to state.

When you think about the volume of sales these days from auction sites, Craigslist, and just online vendors in general, this has become a pretty big problem.

I found lots of instances of folks buying things like IPhones and computers from Craigslist, and then having the items they unknowingly bought confiscated at the very least. The people were not charged with buying stolen goods, but they lost what they purchased, and were out the money they paid.

It is very unlikely that anyone would be prosecuted for buying a few papercrafting dies from an online vendor that you thought was legit, but as has been said, technically it is probably possible.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:57 AM   #15
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As a person who works for an identity theft protection company, I hear stories similar to this many times. I am very cautious who I do business with and it frightens me that this has leaked into the paper crafting business. I know most people involved with crafts are honest, loving, generous people (such as Mike). I hate to see them taken advantage of. I will not do or provide any business with Crafty Ann after reading this. I know what can happen when the wrong person gets your information. I would not take a risk knowing that it is a possibility with this group. Thank you Mike for bringing it to our attention. Remember there are still good people out there and don't let this experience (terrible as it is) let you become hardened by it.
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:45 PM   #16
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As for the Crafty Ann, I thought the email inferred that the Crafty Ann dies were stolen "designs" rather than dies, but I couldn't be sure.
Thanks Chautona! Yes inferred was the word I was looking for and why I was still confused. If it turns out that the designs or artwork used to manufacture Crafty Ann dies in China belongs to Cherry Lynn then these people are still stealing from them. First the physical dies and now the artwork and that would change the legal framework considerably and make the situation even sadder and more complicated. I'm going to assume that Cherry Lynn wasn't inferring anything. They were simply stating a fact. That Viktor Shmyhlenko stole dies from them, they have the arrest record and sentence to prove that. And that he may have some involvement in a new die business Crafty Ann.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:03 PM   #17
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KelliJo, I did a little bit of internet research on this subject, and found that it is very complicated, and there is no one answer. The laws about stolen property are pretty clear for Federal laws, but the state laws are very murky, and vary from state to state.

When you think about the volume of sales these days from auction sites, Craigslist, and just online vendors in general, this has become a pretty big problem.

I found lots of instances of folks buying things like IPhones and computers from Craigslist, and then having the items they unknowingly bought confiscated at the very least. The people were not charged with buying stolen goods, but they lost what they purchased, and were out the money they paid.

It is very unlikely that anyone would be prosecuted for buying a few papercrafting dies from an online vendor that you thought was legit, but as has been said, technically it is probably possible.
This is what I was trying to communicate. Highly unlikely, but technically possible, and yes, it varies by state.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #18
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Just in case anyone out there is considering ordering from these people anyway (overcome by the lure of deep discounts) - think about this:

Do you really want someone like this to have your credit card or checking account information?
When unscrupulous people are doing business, you never know what other means they will use to access funds. Something to be mindful of......
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by buggainok;20220497...
This brings me to why we are writing you. We have learned that, in November, 2012, Viktorís wife, Inna, began another on-line business called Crafty-Ann. [URL="http://crafty-ann.com/"
Crafty Ann[/URL] 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.

...
My understanding of that is that the Crafty Ann dies could be totally different designs altogether. The issue as that they're using the stolen mailing list to contact people who bought from Cheery Lynn, knowing that those customers will be interested in purchasing dies, to try to build up their new business.
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