Former Aspenite to pay restitution in identity theft case
ASPEN – A former Aspen resident accused of identity theft has agreed to pay $136,156 in restitution and $40,000 in penalties and fines as part of an agreement with the Colorado attorney general.
Donald Whitlock, 39, who once lived in Aspen and Basalt, admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which was signed March 8 and announced Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Law.
The settlement comes after the Colorado Attorney General’s Office filed a civil complaint against Whitlock and his wife, Erin Reese Whitlock, in December. The complaint accused the two of creating phony commercial lending companies that were used to fleece customers out of deposits that were made.
As part of the settlement, the state dismissed all claims against Erin Reese Whitlock with prejudice.
“The court found she did not have substantial involvement in the scheme,” said Mike Saccone, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Law.
A phone message left at the Whitlock household in Pompano Beach, Fla., was not immediately returned Tuesday.
The original suit alleged that the Whitlocks set up bogus businesses using such names as AIG Real Estate, Allstate Real Estate and GE Capital Real Estate. One of the companies – ING Holdings LLC – was incorporated on April 24, 2007, using an Aspen Business Center location as its home address, court documents allege. The Aspen concern was the first of at least 15 fake businesses the Whitlocks established, officials alleged.
Consumers would pay upfront fees to the allegedly fraudulent, online companies to secure loans for real estate developments. Instead, Whitlock allegedly funneled the cash into their personal bank accounts.
The settlement agreement includes a permanent injunction that prohibits Whitlock from conducting any business related to financial services or mortgages in Colorado.
In a prepared statement, Attorney General John Suthers said the settlement “is a tremendous victory for the people of Colorado and all of the victims of this complex fraud scheme. This conclusion is particularly remarkable given the speed we secured restitution for the victims and a court order preventing Mr. Whitlock from perpetrating the same fraud scheme again.”
The restitution will go straight to the victims, who are from Colorado, Florida, and other states, Saccone said. The $40,000 in fines – $20,000 is a civil penalty, the other $20,000 is for costs and attorney fees – will be paid in monthly $1,000 increments to the Colorado Department of Law.
Whitlock is also subject to another $500,000 in penalties if it is discovered that he did not disclose all financial transactions connected to the fraud, which occurred between April 1, 2007 and March 4, 2010.
The Whitlock couple had lived at 412 N. Mill St. in Aspen, as well as 6A Riversedge Court in Basalt, according to court documents. They also had lived in Southport, N.C.
A proxy statement from July 2001 for California-based Seychelle Environmental Technologies Inc., for which Donald Whitlock was the director of the board, shows that Whitlock was a fellow at The Aspen Institute. He also was the principal of International Corporate Development Ltd., an investment firm he had run for six years in Aspen.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has tested positive for the coronavirus. Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, both have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, the governor said in a statement Saturday night.