Former Aspen man faces felonies in Rolex thefts
A 30-year-old former Aspen-area man is facing felony charges for allegedly stealing nearly $200,000 worth of Rolex watches from a downtown business and bilking a local couple who thought he was a financial adviser out of $60,000, according to court documents.
Jared Mastroianni is charged with two counts of theft and one count of forgery.
The cases occurred in December and January, and law enforcement — with the help of the FBI — have been looking for him and trying to get him back to Aspen for the past 10 months, said Deputy District Attorney Anne Norrdin.
She asked the judge to set a $60,000 bond for Mastroianni’s two cases.
However, Mastroianni’s attorney, Arnold Mordkin, said his client returned to Aspen to face the charges of his own volition, and that he can afford to travel between Arkansas and Aspen for court. He also said Mastroianni founded and runs a nonprofit in Arkansas that provides benefits to veterans who don’t have any.
District Court Judge Gail Nichols on Tuesday ordered Mastroianni to post a combined $15,000 bond in the two cases and allowed him to continue living in Arkansas and travel back to Aspen for court while the cases are adjudicated.
In the Rolex case, Mastroianni established a relationship with the owner of Meridian Jewelers, 525 E. Cooper Ave., by purchasing two Rolex watches in August 2014 for $58,344 with a credit card, according to an arrest warrant filed in court. Then in December, he bought three more Rolexes for an unspecified amount with a check that later cleared his bank, the warrant states.
The owner told police that “he developed a level of trust with Mastroianni because of these two significant sales,” the warrant states. Mastroianni also asked the owner if he bought used Rolexes. The owner said he didn’t but recommended a broker he knew in Houston, according to the warrant.
In January, when Mastroianni told the owner he wanted to buy eight Rolexes to give to his “top employees,” the owner arranged the sale and accepted a check from him for $266,440, the warrant states. The owner only gave Mastroianni five of the watches, however, because Mastroianni told him he’d pick up the other three later.
The day after the purchase he learned the check bounced. The Meridian owner also received a phone call that day from the Houston broker saying he’d just received five brand new Rolex watches from Mastroianni, which they determined were the same ones he’d just bought in Aspen, the warrant states.
Mastroianni told the owner in Aspen that he’d wire the money, but never did, the warrant states. He also said he’d meet him to return the watches but never did. The value of the five watches is $196,250, the warrant states.
An Aspen police officer called Mastroianni but never got a response. He then went to Mastroianni’s Aspen address Jan. 19 and saw “many boxes in front of the house” in the driveway, the warrant states.
In the other case against him, an Aspen area couple reported that they’d given Mastroianni $60,000 to invest because he said he was a “financial advisor,” according to another arrest warrant. He allegedly said he worked for a company called “Strategic Point,” the warrant states.
However, not long after they gave Mastroianni the money Dec. 1, they became suspicious that he wasn’t who he said he was and had no affiliation to the company, the warrant states. A company employee later confirmed there was no account in the couple’s name at the firm, the warrant states.
Mastroianni then referred them to his business associate, “Oren Lipstean.” The couple recorded the conversation with Lipstean, who on the phone sounded to both the couple and the Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy who looked into the case like Mastroianni’s voice run through a voice synthesizer, according to the warrant.
Mastroianni later told the couple he’d return their money by check but never did, the warrant states. He then sent his “assistant” to meet them at the Aspen Business Center with a check that later was determined to be a forgery, according to the warrant.
The couple never received their money back, the warrant states.
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A speeding car on Tuesday morning crashed into and destroyed part of the winter closure gate on Maroon Creek Road.