Aspen theft plea yields same sentence, again
In the end Wednesday, it was deja vu all over again for Jared Mastroianni.
The 31-year-old former Aspen resident and wannabe financial adviser pleaded guilty to felony theft last year, then withdrew that plea in December after a Pitkin County District Court judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail, which violated terms of his plea deal.
Judges are not bound by the terms of plea deals struck between defendants and the District Attorney’s Office. However, if a judge decides to reject a plea deal, a defendant can withdraw his or her plea.
But two weeks later, in late December, Mastroianni pleaded guilty again to felony theft between $20,000 and $100,000. And on Wednesday, District Judge Chris Seldin again handed down the exact same sentence — 90 days in jail and three years probation — he gave Mastroianni last month.
Seldin also ordered Mastroianni to complete 100 hours of community service, while he split the jail term into 45 days straight time and 45 days when Mastroianni will be eligible to work during the day and spend nights in jail.
Mastroianni was accused of purchasing five Rolex watches valued at $196,250 from a local Aspen jeweler in January 2015 with a check that bounced. The business owner trusted Mastroianni to pay with a check because Mastroianni had purchased Rolexes from him before, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing last year and police reports.
The bogus check Mastroianni wrote to the jeweler “was drawn on no bank at all,” Seldin said during the preliminary hearing, after listening to evidence that was presented. Mastroianni almost immediately sent the five watches to a used Rolex broker in Texas for sale, though the broker knew the Aspen dealer and called him before processing the sale, according to the hearing and police reports.
Mastroianni also initially faced two counts of securities fraud for taking $60,000 from a local Aspen couple, allegedly to invest. However, the couple, Dr. Kenton Bruice and his wife, Donna, soon became suspicious and discovered Mastroianni didn’t work for the financial company he claimed to work for.
Mastroianni told the couple he’d give them back their money, but did not.
As part of the plea deal, Mastroianni paid the couple back $69,785. In addition, the jeweler received the Rolex watches back. The remaining counts against him were dismissed as part of the plea deal.
Bruice said Wednesday he was satisfied with the plea and felt justice had been done.
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While the list of positive trends over the last year is short, one silver lining is that crime in Aspen dropped significantly.