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July 9, 2014
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Basalt woman who stole from Aspen credit union branch sentenced to jail

A Basalt woman who stole money from account holders of the local credit union where she worked was sentenced to 60 days in jail and four years of supervised probation Monday in Pitkin County District Court.

Jessica Dawn Sorensen, 40, began serving her jail time in the Pitkin County Jail shortly after the sentencing proceeding. She pleaded guilty in May to three counts of felony theft after admitting that she stole more than $40,000 from the Aspen office of Grand Junction Federal Credit Union.

An Aspen Police Department investigation led to her arrest on Aug. 25. At one point, she faced 24 charges: 17 misdemeanors and seven felonies. The District Attorney’s Office has dismissed all of the misdemeanors and four of the felony charges.

Sorensen admitted in court in May that the criminal activity occurred between October 2012 and July 2013.

An affidavit in support of her arrest, written by Aspen Police Officer Jeff Fain, says that Sorensen withdrew money from certain accounts, sometimes by forging the member’s signature and sometimes without a signature. Before mailing out the member’s balance statements, she would replace the money with an unauthorized personal loan she made to herself so that it would reflect the original balance.

She also would change the victims’ addresses so that they would not receive statements showing her many withdrawals, Fain said. In some instances, she changed their phone-contact information. Later, she would transfer money from the accounts back to her personal use, the affidavit said.

Sorensen has been receiving treatment for substance abuse since August, court records show. Letters to the judge from supporters say that she is committed to her treatment program.

Under her probation, she must submit to random drug and alcohol testing. She must complete a mental-health evaluation and pay restitution.

A District Attorney’s Office motion for restitution filed with the court on June 14 places the total at $53,618, which includes the bill from the credit union’s insurer, plus interest. The period for victims to request restitution will remain open for the next three months, court records show.

Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols gave Sorensen permission to be released from jail for work, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and counseling, according to court records.

andre@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 9, 2014 07:41AM Published Jul 9, 2014 10:24AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.