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Amadeus Harlan Out of Prison and Into Jail

Amadeus Harlan, a longtime Denver con artist who used a phony story about being a Denver Broncos player to score women, fast cars and, this past fall, a $2.5 million former YMCA building in east Denver to house his sports tournament business, Harlan21, was released from federal prison this week. He had been serving a six-month sentence for violating his parole; his nefarious activities last fall violated the terms of his release after he’d served time for breaking into a post office in 2002.

But just because Harlan got out of prison didn’t mean he went free.

As soon as Harlan was discharged from the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution in Florence, authorities transported him to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department, where he was taken into custody and charged with theft. The case presumably stems from a 2003 incident in which Harlan allegedly nabbed a motorcycle from Thunder Mountain Harley Davidson in Fort Collins. For that, he was sentenced to eight years with the Department of Corrections, but the sentence was suspended provided he abide by the stipulations of the federal charge associated with the post-office bust. Since he violated his federal parole, that suspended sentence was revoked.

And other authorities are waiting. “When they [Larimer County] are done with him, he will come over to us,” says Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson. “Then we will charge him with several counts of felony theft.” That case will revolve around Harlan's escapades with at Harlan21, for which he hired more than a dozen people who never got paid and used bad checks to pay for a variety of goods and services, according to many people. There are also warrants out for his arrest in Adams and Arapahoe counties, where he purportedly carried out other permutations of his unending con game.

“He’s gotta face the music in each jurisdiction,” says Jackson. “I guess everyone is getting in line.” Harlan always wanted the attention that came with being a Broncos player, but this probably isn’t the attention he was hoping for. – Joel Warner

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner