‘Victim’ arrested for not paying Snowmass Village bill
A 32-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday on the unusual charge of defrauding an innkeeper after she was unable to pay a more than $4,600 bill at a Snowmass Village condominium complex, according to police.
Kai Jing Liu also allegedly ran up a $40 tab at an Aspen restaurant Feb. 12 she was unable to pay for, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
During her court advisement later Tuesday, after Judge Chris Seldin ordered her held in lieu of a $3,500 bond, Liu proclaimed her innocence and asked to be able to stay somewhere besides the Pitkin County Jail.
“I’m the victim,” Liu said. “I don’t want to stay here.”
“Not many criminals want to stay in jail,” Seldin countered.
The manager of the Crestwood Condo complex called Snowmass Village police Monday and reported that Liu had been unable to come up with a valid credit card to pay for her stay, which began Feb. 11, according to the affidavit. The next day, Liu again presented several credit cards, none of which worked.
A police officer on the scene then told her she’d had ample time to call her bank and fix whatever money problems she might be having, and that he didn’t believe she planned to pay, the affidavit states.
Liu then said she wanted to call a lawyer. The officer told her she could call from jail and said he’d take away her phone if she attempted to make a call, according to the affidavit.
“She quickly dialed her phone and put it to her ear,” the affidavit states. “I did not take it away.”
However, the officer soon realized that Liu had dialed 911 and was telling a dispatcher she was about to be arrested for not paying her bill, according to the affidavit. The officer told her to hang up, which she did and then took her to jail.
Later, a legal advocate in New York called the officer and said Liu’s mother had notified her about the arrest.
“Liu’s mother told (the advocate) that Liu suffered from mental illness and that Liu had been in similar trouble in the past,” according to the affidavit.
On Feb. 8, an Aspen police officer contacted Liu at the St. Regis hotel, where she had been unable to pay her $40 breakfast bill, the affidavit states. The officer asked her how she was going to pay and Liu “shrugged her shoulders” and appeared “aloof and unphased” (sic) about the problem.
After about 10 minutes on the phone, Liu produced a credit card that worked and paid the bill, according to the affidavit.
Then on Feb. 12, a manager at Jimmy’s restaurant called Aspen police to report that Liu could not pay a $40 tab. The manager photographed Liu’s identification and asked her to leave, according to the affidavit.
Liu has a U.S. passport, a Chinese passport and a New York driver’s license. Her name is different on the Chinese passport, and all three forms of identification contain a different birth date than the one cited in the affidavit.
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Multiple efforts have popped up to keep the region’s Latino population informed about the coronavirus crisis and economic aid available for unemployed workers. A special Facebook public group called Coronavirus Aspen 2 Parachute Community Help provides answers to frequently asked questions and directs people to aid.