Custody battle mother charged with theft
A Roaring Fork Valley woman at the center of a drawn-out international custody battle that went all the way to the Argentina Supreme Court was charged Monday with stealing from an elderly man on a private yacht trip.
That’s according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed Monday in Pitkin County District Court charging Ana Burns, also known as Ana Alianelli, with theft, commission of computer crimes, unauthorized use of a financial transaction and commission of a crime against an at-risk person, all felonies.
Burns, 44, is the same woman who took her two children to Argentina from Glenwood Springs in 2010 after a contentious divorce from their father, then defied a District Court judge’s order to return, according to the affidavit. The Argentina Supreme Court ordered her to surrender her children back to their father in Snowmass in 2015, which she did.
The charges filed against Burns on Monday stem from a phone call March 5 to Aspen police from the 81-year-old owner of the credit card in question. The man said he’d been on a private yacht trip to St. Barts in the Caribbean from Feb. 24 to March 3 that also included Burns, who he’d met a few years ago in Aspen, according to the affidavit.
When he returned home, the man’s accountant brought nearly $11,000 worth of questionable charges to his attention that he did not recognize, the affidavit states. They included reservations at two Aspen hotels, a more than $2,000 plane ticket, purchases on Amazon.com and charge to a Basalt optometrist.
All the charges were made while the 81-year-old man and Burns were on the yacht, according to the affidavit.
The man said he still possessed his credit cards and never gave Burns permission to use them.
“(The man) suspects that Burns somehow located his wallet sometime on the boat without him knowing, and either physically used his credit cards to make these charges and reservations while on the boat, or took pictures of his credit cards to use them on a later date,” according to the affidavit written by Aspen police Sgt. Terry Leitch.
A manager at the Annabelle Inn in Aspen told him “Burns showed him a photo of (the 81-year-old’s) American Express card, as well as (his) driver’s license, on her phone in her attempt to check-in” on March 4, the affidavit states.
The manager turned Burns away and did not allow her to check in.
An Aspen police officer located her Saturday while she was staying at the Inn at Aspen, according to the affidavit.
On Monday in court to be advised of the charges, Burns asked permission to travel out of the country for her job. The only problem was that she allegedly bought the plane ticket she was going to use to travel using the stolen credit card number, said Deputy District Attorney Don Nottingham.
District Judge Chris Seldin told Burns he would allow her to travel for her job, though she could not do so using the ticket in question.