Man charged for bogus bills in Aspen
October 1, 2009
ASPEN – A California man wanted in Aspen for passing phony 100-dollar bills was advised Wednesday of three felony charges connected to counterfeiting.
Bond was set at $6,000 for Christian Adam Gaxiola, 30, who police believe used the bogus Benjamins to buy goods at the downtown retailers Lush Cosmetics and The North Face. Workers at the stores told authorities they thought the tender looked fake, but they accepted it anyway, police said.
Gaxiola surrendered to authorities Monday. When arguing for a lower bond, he told Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely that “I turned myself in immediately after I found out I had a warrant.”
He was originally arrested in August on similar allegations, but was released because of a lack of evidence, according a report from Aspen police officer Ian MacAyeal. But photo lineups in which Gaxiola was pictured were later presented to North Face and Lush clerks, who confirmed that he was the one who allegedly passed the fake currency.
Police suspect Gaxiola was part of counterfeiting ring comprised of three California men – including Andrew Allan McCollum, who was arrested in August and is in the custody of the Pitkin County jail.
At least 10 Aspen businesses reported that they had taken counterfeit 100-dollar bills, MacAyeal’s report said.
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Gaxiola faces the felony charges of forgery, conspiracy to commit forger, and theft in a series. Conviction carries prison sentences of two to six years, and fines ranging between $2,000 and $500,000.