Aspen man arrested for alleged fraud |

Aspen man arrested for alleged fraud

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Authorities in Newport Beach, Calif., arrested an Aspen man Tuesday amid allegations he cheated a local builder out of nearly $1 million in a scam used to pay for high-end items including a home in town and private schools.

Thomas Andrew Kiplingbaugh, 54, was taken into custody on an arrest warrant issued out of Pitkin County earlier this week, local authorities said Thursday. Kiplingbaugh is accused of 28 felonies ranging from theft to unauthorized use of a financial transaction device.

Kiplingbaugh was released Tuesday after he posted $50,000 bail. He is to appear March 17 in Orange County Superior Court in Southern California, police records show.

The warrant alleges Kiplingbaugh bilked Wodehouse Builders of Aspen out of $990,000 between September 2007 and March 2008. He was a manager for the company at the time the alleged misdeeds took place.

Most of the allegations stem from activities in the Aspen area, said Deputy Sheriff Brad Gibson, who authored the arrest warrant.

The warrant states that Kiplingbaugh made a number of wire transfers to pay for items, such as a residential unit on Sierra Vista Drive.

“From Dec. 26, 2007 to March 4, 2008, Kiplingbaugh reportedly transferred $312,500 from the Wodehouse Builders’ Timberline Bank account number” to an Alpine Bank account number.

The Alpine Bank account number was under control of Pitkin County Title, the warrant states. The buyers of the home were listed as Tom and Karla Kipling. She is referred to as his wife in the warrant. Kiplingbaugh is also known as Tom Kipling.

The warrant also alleges Kiplingbaugh made a number of $50,000 wire transfers, with each made from Wodehouse Builders’ bank account.

One such transfer occurred Dec. 28, 2007, when $50,000 was transferred to an Alpine Bank account that belonged to “Land Rover Roaring Fork Centre of the Rockies.”

The money was allegedly used to buy a 2006 Land Rover Range Rover. The buyers were listed as Tom and Karla Kipling.

Another such transfer happened on Feb. 11, 2008 when Kiplingbaugh allegedly wired $50,000 from the builder’s Timberline Bank account to an “account under the control of First Bank of Idaho.”

That bank account apparently belonged to Kiplingbaugh’s daughter.

He also allegedly made several wire transfers, for various amounts of money, from the builder’s bank account to accounts held at Bank of America.

The first of those wire transfers was made Nov. 9, 2007, in the amount of $33,500. The account holder was listed as Contemporary Cars Inc. The company is said to be doing business as Mercedes Benz of Orlando in Maitland, Fla.

The other two transfers totaled $35,000, the warrant states. Those accounts belonged to Karla Jameson, also known as Karla Kipling.

Kiplingbaugh also allegedly wrote a number of checks on the builders’ accounts to pay for such things as private schooling and rent. One check was for $18,500 to Aspen County Day School. The check was dated Nov. 5, 2007 and was apparently for his “son’s tuition at the school.”

He also allegedly wrote several checks to himself, including a $12,000 draft on Feb. 5, 2008, the warrant states.

Kiplingbaugh is also accused of using the builder’s credit card to make “unauthorized charges of $3,700, $2,170.91, $374.67 and $105.89 to the Polo Ralph Lauren Store in Aspen.”

Those transactions were allegedly made from Sept. 29, 2007 and Oct. 28, 2007. He also made unauthorized purchases totaling $2,708.48 at Gorsuch at The Little Nell on Feb. 8, 2008.

When Gibson contacted Kiplingbaugh earlier this month regarding the alleged transfers, he apparently said he had permission from Richard Wodehouse, owner of the building company, to use some of the money coming in from a job to pay for some of the items, the warrant states.

Those items included the purchases of the Sierra Vista unit and the Land Rover.

Kiplingbaugh also said the arrangement entitled him to pay back the money he borrowed through his earnings or after a family matter was settled.

He also claimed to have paid back nearly $458,000, which was apparently used to pay subcontractors.

When Kiplingbaugh was told that Wodehouse was claiming about $990,000 in fraudulent charges he allegedly said, “OK … Well,” the warrant states.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin said the case is active and there could be “other potential victims.”

He said Kiplingbaugh will eventually have to appear in Pitkin County District Court to answer for his alleged misdeeds, but it is not clear when that is to happen.

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