Authorities release documents in Aspen madam case
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Handwritten notes and financial records from the suspected Aspen madam are on file and available to the public at the police records department near the county jail.
Elizabeth Koeppel, 44, was arrested last December and charged with running a local prostitution ring. Koeppel pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of prostitution and on Monday was sentenced to a year of probation.
Police obtained Koeppel’s notes and scribblings, which include names and addresses of suspected clients and employees.
The full extent of the documents span five thick bundles of photocopies, and two folders worth of other evidence, such as Koeppel’s financial records. Names, phone numbers and addresses were jotted down in spiral notebooks that served as “a combination date book, address book and diary,” said Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley, who led the investigation.
Personal thoughts, information about vitamin supplements and exercises are all written down on the same pages as the names, phone numbers and specific requests for sex.
There are recognizable names of Aspen locals within the scribbled notes, but The Aspen Times will not be publishing any of the names because there is no proof of any wrongdoing. There are also copies of personal checks written to Koeppel in the records, for amounts between $300 and $1,500.
“I do recognize some of the names, but some of them seem to be appointments for sex, and some do not,” Crowley said. “But we haven’t checked every single phone number in there – or even a tenth of the numbers. There are a lot of hotel numbers in there.”
Crowley said he does not anticipate investigating the notes further in order to bring charges against Koeppel’s former clients or employees.
“We were more concerned with shutting down the business because of the complaints,” he said. “We suspected she was using underage girls, and stopping that was more important than going after guys who bought sex one time or the of-age women working for her.”
Koeppel was arrested after an investigation that stretched out more than a year, based on anonymous tips from valley residents as well as an undercover investigation. During a staged interview with an undercover drug enforcement officer, Koeppel said most of her clients are “looking for teenagers or girls in their early 20s,” according to court records.
Crowley said he might have had a stronger case against Koeppel if one of the anonymous tipsters had testified against the suspected madam, but he said the information in Koeppel’s documents and what other witnesses told him made it “readily apparent what was going on.”
In some of the documents, women write Koeppel letters describing their appearance and asking for employment. Crowley said many of the women employed by Koeppel’s “Escorts of Aspen” were from out of town and left Aspen after she was arrested.
Koeppel has since moved to Dallas, where she will be supervised by a mental health specialist. Koeppel was charged once before with prostitution in Texas.
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