Aspen investigators arrest alleged Hawaiian con man
A alleged con man from New Jersey was arrested in Aspen this week on charges that he violated the terms of his parole from a Hawaiian prison.
Police say the man, Michael J. Burns, was caught while in the midst of a scam to bilk several local investors for millions of dollars.
According to Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley, Burns, who is to be sent back to Hawaii, was arrested Wednesday while walking along a street in downtown Aspen.
Crowley said a number of local residents had contacted police and complained that Burns, 42, was trying to rip them off. Crowley declined to reveal the investors’ identities, noting that there are no charges against Burns in Aspen.
Based on information given to him by the investors, Crowley tracked Burns to Hawaii and learned that he is wanted for violating the terms of his parole from prison. He had been sentenced to a five-year term after being convicted of “basically stealing a $2 million house on the island of Oahu,” Crowley said.
Crowley also learned from Hawaiian sources that, while on a work furlough from that case, Burns allegedly bilked the company he was working for, Monster.com, and used the money to pay his restitution in the house-theft case.
Facing charges in the Monster.com theft, Burns allegedly fled when he was released from jail on bond, Crowley said. He was then picked up in Philadelphia, Pa., and sent back to prison, but was ultimately paroled.
It was the alleged violation of that latest parole that generated the warrant for his arrest in Aspen. Crowley and Pitkin County Deputy Sheriff Joe DiSalvo spotted him walking along Hyman Avenue on Wednesday and arrested him.
Crowley said that if Burns had been able to pull off his scam of the Aspen investors, he could probably have left town with millions of dollars.
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