Aspen judge rejects Frommer’s plea deal
December 2, 2008
ASPEN ” A judge rejected a plea agreement Monday in the nearly two-year-old fraud case against Aspenite Peter Frommer, largely because the terms were too lenient.
District Court Judge James Boyd said the deal between the district attorney’s office in Aspen and Frommer fell short of something he could possibly approve. The agreement called for Frommer to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of issuing a bad check.
He also agreed to pay full restitution to all victims. The total was estimated at $160,000, and includes roughly $60,000 that Frommer has repaid since his arrest in February 2007. He was subsequently charged with more than 30 counts of fraud.
Boyd suggested the agreement might be more doable “if the money had been paid back” by Monday’s hearing in Pitkin County Court in Aspen. The judge also rejected the admission of a misdemeanor plea.
“The problem is 31 charges,” said Boyd on the agreement during the afternoon hearing.
He added should Frommer not fully comply with the plea agreement, the misdemeanor count would only result in a jail sentence of six months.
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While the judge appeared to view the deal as soft, Frommer’s defense attorney, Robert Koenig, painted a different picture.
“There is his promise, here today, he is going to pay the $100,000,” Koenig said. “The sentence is not light in his eyes.”
Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey also argued the merits of the agreement, which he admitted wasn’t perfect.
“Would I prefer it (the money) was all paid? Obviously,” he said. “(We) tried to reach a misdemeanor deal where he would have to pay.”
After the judge rejected the deal, both Hershey and Koenig were given time by Boyd to talk about a revised agreement. The two sides appeared back before Boyd shortly after 5 p.m., but could not reach a deal.
They agreed to try and resolve the issue at a later date. The judge scheduled the next hearing at 3 p.m. on Jan. 12.
In other court news, Gregory Elston was given a two-year deferred sentence, and two years of supervised probation, for possession of a schedule II substance as part of plea agreement he reached in October.
As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped a heroin distribution charge against Elston, an Aspen resident.
Boyd also ordered Elston to complete 75 hours of community service, undergo random drug and alcohol testing, not possess or consume alcohol or illegal drugs and continue with a therapy regiment.
Elston was sentenced about two months after he surrendered to Aspen police on Oct. 2 on an outstanding warrant that alleged he supplied heroin to 23-year-old Aspen visitor Adam Steven Peterson.
Peterson overdosed on March 23 after using heroin and cocaine together ” a method known as “speed-balling.”
Two other men have been arrested in connection to the death of Peterson, which has been tied to a local heroin distribution network. Federal agents arrested Aspen resident Ryan Welgos, 31, on June 19 for his alleged role in the network. His next court date is Dec. 11 in Garfield County.
The other suspect, Nelson Raul-Gamez, of Aurora, was arrested in Silverthorne, Colo. the same day as Welgos. His case is pending in Garfield County.