Two Carbondale women accused of being involved in a fraudulent check-cashing operation appeared in Pitkin County District Court earlier this week.
Elizabeth Dominguez, 18, who also goes by Daniela Elizabeth Jaramillo-Dominguez, appeared before District Judge Gail Nichols on Monday morning and obtained her release from the Pitkin County Jail on a personal-recognizance bond.
She was booked into the jail following her Nov. 28 arrest that stemmed from an Aspen Police Department investigation. Police said she and another woman, Elsa Eva Murillo-Ramirez, 40, also known as Elsa Murillo-Gonzales, used personal checks that didn’t belong to them to obtain $6,000 from four separate Alpine Bank branches in the Roaring Fork Valley. All of the transactions took place Nov. 21, police said.
During the bond discussion, the public defender representing Dominguez said that she could arrange to live with Murillo-Ramirez in Carbondale; they were said to be roommates before the arrest. But Nichols expressed concern about such an arrangement and, as a condition of release, told Dominguez she could not reside or have any contact with Murillo-Ramirez.
“It looks as though the checks were stolen by the other person and the other person got Elizabeth involved,” Nichols said to the defense attorney. “Is there anyone else she can live with?”
“You can’t live there anymore,” the judge told Dominguez through an interpreter. “(Murillo-Ramirez is) not a person you need to associate with at this point.”
Nichols set Dominguez’s next court appearance for Feb. 10. She faces seven felony charges involving theft and forgery.
Later on Monday, Murillo-Ramirez — who also was arrested Nov. 28 but was able to arrange release the same day on $15,000 bond — was advised by Nichols that she faces 11 felony and two misdemeanor charges related to theft and forgery based on the alleged Nov. 21 check-writing spree.
However, Murillo-Ramirez faces five additional charges in the “habitual criminal” category, court records show. Between 2001 and 2011, she was convicted of five felonies. Two involved aggravated driving after revocation, one was for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, one related to criminal impersonation to gain a benefit, and another concerned an attempt to contribute to the delinquency of a minor.
Nichols told Murillo-Ramirez that she faces a mandatory 24 years in prison if convicted of the recent theft and three or more of habitual-criminal charges.
“Obviously this is serious,” said Nichols, who advised Murillo-Ramirez to obtain legal counsel.
Her next court appearance was set for Jan. 6.