‘Nonstop’ thief gets 11 years
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Aspen resident Jeffrey Key was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison.
The sentence didn’t appear to effect Key, who neither expressed remorse for his crimes nor responded to allegations that he stole a cell phone while out on bond for a week before the hearing and attempted to rig the jury at his trial.
“Mr. Key is what I would call a nonstop thief,” assistant district attorney Gail Nichols said at Monday’s proceedings in Aspen.
Judge Robert Brown sentenced Key to three years in prison for unauthorized use of a financial transaction device (an ATM card) and six years in prison for theft in a series of five $200 withdrawals from the bank, to be served concurrently. Key also will serve a concurrent year for each of three misdemeanor theft charges. For the probation violation, Key will serve the full five-year sentence consecutive to the six years for the series of thefts.
Key pleaded for Brown to send him to a community corrections program after asking for a month-long continuance.
“I’ve been to prison, and it has not helped me,” Key said. “I haven’t had luck with the probation department, either.”
Brown was not receptive.
“A thousand dollars is not a lot to many people here, but it is a lot to the working class,” Brown said, noting that Key stole $1,000 ” an entire winter’s savings ” from a nanny.
Brown also sided with the prosecutor over credit for 265 days Key served in the Pitkin County Jail, saying it was for a parole violation and had nothing to do with the latest conviction.
Key was found guilty of the five theft-related charges ” including two felonies ” in 9th Judicial District Court on April 13. He was released on $30,000 bond, which his father posted, for the week before his sentencing.
Nichols also revealed at the hearing that one of Key’s friends asked someone who attended jury selection to hang the jury. Nichols said Key had made calls to the same effect from jail and that the call was recorded.
Key’s attorney, Arnie Mordkin, strenuously objected to the accusation in court Monday.
Nichols also revealed evidence that Key stole a cell phone while out on bond. According to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy James Hearn, the first two calls on a reportedly stolen cell phone were to a friend of Key’s. Minutes later the friend called back and was routed to the owner’s second phone. The friend told the owner that Key had stolen the phone.
“I do not have possession of the phone,” Hearn said during cross-examination. “I have reason to believe it’s in the courtroom.”
Further, according to cell phone records, there were calls from the phone to Mordkin and a community corrections program in Denver.
Mordkin then asked to withdraw as Key’s attorney, but Brown told Mordkin to calm down and remain as counsel. Brown said new allegations did not make a difference and that the evidence on the record was more than enough for a lengthy prison sentence.
After Key was handcuffed and taken outside the courtroom Monday, Hearn asked Key where the cell phone was and promised not to charge him with anything if it was returned.
“I never did have it,” Key said.
“All we want is to get [the phone’s owner] the phone,” Hearn said. “It has personal information; I just wanted to get it back to him.”
– Judge Robert Brown said Monday that in his 30 years on the bench, he had never seen someone so young with such lengthy record for fraud-related crimes.
Emily Wodiuk, 23, pleaded guilty to two charges of felony theft: She wrote a bad check for $2,000 to Matsuhisa and $800 to go snowmobiling, according to court records.
But Wodiuk, who faces four to 12 years in prison because she was on probation for two other fraud-related felonies at the time of the crimes, was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Brown agreed to the PR bond after Wodiuk’s mother agreed to co-sign a $20,000 cash surety bond. Wodiuk also agreed to follow a strict program with The Right Door, an Aspen-based substance abuse program that works closely with the criminal justice system.
Her sentencing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. on June 18.
– A former Aspen Skiing Co. ski instructor pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor theft.
Jared Hidden stole a Rolex watch from a friend in late 2006; he was arrested early this year while dining at Matsuhisa.
He faces a possible year in jail and $1,000 fine at a sentencing hearing at 1:45 p.m. on July 2.
– Peter Frommer, the California man charged with 29 counts of check fraud and felony theft, appeared in court Monday. A preliminary hearing was set for at 3 p.m. on July 2. He has still not entered a plea on the charges against him. Frommer is free on $40,000 bail.
– Bradford Moore, charged with possession of child pornography, appeared in court Monday for a motions review. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him; a trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24.
There will be a pretrial conference at 3 p.m. on Aug. 20. Moore is out of jail on bail.
Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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