"After the fact, these people are actors, reality TV," Alderden said. "And they met and established a relationship when they were in acting school. They put on a very good show for us, and we bought it. I don't fault our staff, everything seemed plausible."
Richard and Mayumi Heene met at the Lee Strasberg acting school in Los Angeles, as reported Friday by ABC News' Denver affiliate KMGH-TV.
Alderden referred to a possible co-conspirator, Rob Thomas, 25, who attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins and met Heene online. In a blog posted on gawker.com, Thomas said Heene was desperate to be a celebrity.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I think in this case the desperation was too much for Richard to bear," Thomas wrote on Gawker. "Richard's construction business wasn't doing too well. It's hard to find people interested in spending money on the aesthetics of their home when they're worried about their mortgage."
ABC News' Tom McCarthy and Dean Schabner contributed to this report.