Authorities say man stole ID to get a job in Aspen
ASPEN – An El Jebel man turned himself in to authorities Tuesday on suspicion of using an Arizona woman’s Social Security number to secure employment at an Aspen restaurant.
On Wednesday, Alex Canas, 37, appeared in front of Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols, who set his bond at $2,500. Prosecutor Andrea Bryan said she likely would file one felony county of identity theft against Canas, who said he has lived in El Jebel for 16 years.
Aspen police investigator Walter Chi learned about Canas’ alleged fraudulent activity on Feb. 11, when he was contacted by Mesa, Ariz., police concerning the use of a woman’s Social Security number.
The woman contacted Mesa authorities after she was denied Social Security benefits, which she was seeking because of her inability to work, according to an affidavit from Chi. She was denied the benefits because Social Security records traced her number to nearly $40,000 in wages earned at the Hickory House from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2012, the affidavit says.
Chi then provided the Hickory House with the Social Security number, which showed that Canas had been using it, the affidavit says.
On Tuesday morning, Chi interviewed Canas, who told the investigator he paid $150 to obtain the “fake documents,” which included the Social Security number, from a company in California, Chi wrote. Canas also told Chi he had been a legal resident until about six years ago. Canas’ confession prompted Chi to obtain a warrant for his arrest, and Canas surrendered that afternoon.
Canas’ next court appearance is set for Monday.
Should he post bond, he still won’t be released from custody because of a U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement hold placed on him after he was booked into Pitkin County Jail.
“Even if I set bond and you can make it, you’re not going to be released,” Nichols told Canas. “If you put up the bond I set, the jail will hold you and take you to (immigration authorities) in Denver.”
Court records show that Canas is from El Salvador. He told the judge he has one brother, one sister and five cousins who live in the Roaring Fork Valley.
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