Suzette Hall said Thursday that she is neither a "topless barber" nor a prostitute, but is instead sitting in jail as a victim of retaliation.

Hall said that both her husband, who is angry over a pending split, and a former business partner angry over a failed venture lied to police about her in order to trigger an arrest and a parole violation to get her sent to prison.

"It turned out to be this big, psycho ordeal and I am sitting in jail for it," Hall said Thursday.

Hall is in the Boulder County Jail on charges that she practiced cosmetology without a license, a misdemeanor; and criminal impersonation, a felony. She was arrested in November on suspicion of providing cosmetology services without a license at a north Longmont salon where she worked and misrepresenting herself as someone who could legally provide those services. In that arrest affidavit in the licensing case, Longmont police detective Steve Desmond outlined claims that her former business partner and husband made about Hall during interviews, including allegations that she posted ads on Craigslist offering topless haircuts and used her salon in Johnstown for prostitution.

Johnstown police completed their investigation into the prostitution claims in their jurisdiction and detained her this week on suspicion of four counts of misdemeanor prostitution counts, practicing cosmetology without a license, and criminal impersonation. That case will be heard in Weld District Court.

Hall has a criminal history that includes stints in prison for crimes such as aggravated motor vehicle theft and check fraud. She said prostitution is not her crime.

Suzette Hall said that both her husband, who is angry over a pending split, and a former business partner angry over a failed venture lied to police about
Suzette Hall said that both her husband, who is angry over a pending split, and a former business partner angry over a failed venture lied to police about her in order to trigger an arrest and a parole violation to get her sent to prison. ( Matthew Jonas )

Longmont police launched an investigation into Hall after a local salon owner complained that she paid for a chair rental in a salon with checks that bounced. However, because Hall didn't personally sign those checks, the detective did not charge with them. Instead, he focused on the licensing issue, but his investigation led him to her Johnstown business partner and husband. They told the detective that she placed ads on Craigslist offering topless haircuts for $45. Her former business partner at a salon in Johnstown told a Longmont detective that Hall admitted to having sex with a man for money in the salon and that she later found a condom in a trashcan at the salon after a "strange man" left. Those issues were outside of Longmont's jurisdiction.

She said someone posted ads for "raunchy" sexual services on Craigslist listing her name, which she discovered when she began receiving calls and text messages from those who saw the ads. Hall said Loveland police told her she had to ask Craiglist to remove them. She did and they were removed, she recalled, but she ultimately had to change her phone number. She suspected her husband posted them, Hall said.Hall said she helped to finance the salon startup in Johnstown and that her partner, a friend from school, was the barber on site because Hall's license expired when she was in prison and she was running into roadblocks in her efforts to renew it. She said her partner worked as an escort in Denver and would miss work at the salon on weekends, which led to a confrontation. She said that during that confrontation, the partner threatened to call her parole officer and make up claims that would lead to a violation and a trip back to prison. Hall said she thought it was best to cut ties and move on rather than to risk a tangle with parole.

She moved on to Loveland, where she launched a new salon and hired a barber, who she said was supposed to offer the styling services forbidden by her lack of license. She said she does not need a cosmetology license to own and run the business. However, she said, she was having ongoing issues with her husband that had led to police arresting him on suspicion of violating protection orders, harassment, burglary and other domestic violence-related charges. Hall recalled that her husband had told her he would either get her sent back to prison or kill her if she called police on him again.

Hall said that while she was in prison on fraud charges, she and her husband would talk about plans to open a salon, which they ultimately did with her old school friend in Johnstown. She said she recalls a time where he brought up thinking that a topless barbershop would do well. But, she said, it was just talk at the time and nothing she pursued.

"I don't know where the prostitution came from either," she said, adding that she hasn't seen the warrant affidavits in either the Longmont or Johnstown cases.

Now, she said, her name is attached to the "topless barber" concept in media stories that went viral and she will clearly have to start her life anew when the cases settle.

"Once this is all said and done, I think a topless barber shop would make a hell of a lot of money," she said, adding she would like to open and own the shop, but hire licensed stylists who would cut hair. She said she can envision T-shirts for the business already and acknowledges that she will have to do a lot of research on any applicable laws.

"When I get out of jail, I am going to do it and do it legally. I am going to open a topless barber shop."

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273 or at pshields@times-call.com.