Woman held in Pitkin County Jail faces prison time after theft arrest | AspenTimes.com

Woman held in Pitkin County Jail faces prison time after theft arrest

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

A woman who pleaded guilty to felony theft earlier this year but was allowed to participate in a community corrections program in lieu of incarceration could face a lengthy prison term soon.

Karen L. Iuele, 41, is accused of violating conditions of the five-year sentence she received in May to Garfield County Community Corrections, a program in Rifle intended to give the courts alternative-sentencing options for nonviolent offenders.

Community-based sentences are designed to allow offenders to hold regular jobs while providing them with the tools and oversight they need to become responsible members of society. Iuele’s guilty plea in February related to her arrest in October 2012 that was based on accusations she stole money from a customer of the Aspen insurance company where she worked.

But Iuele was arrested on Dec. 11 in Glenwood Springs, accused of stealing from her new employer, Office Depot. Based on the new arrest, the state probation office and the Rifle community corrections facility have kicked Iuele out of the special program.

Pitkin County District Court records show that she will be resentenced at a hearing set for Jan. 5. The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will take the position that the five-year community-based sentence should be converted to a state Department of Corrections sentence, prosecutor Andrea Bryan said Tuesday.

“Due to the fact that Ms. Iuele has committed a new crime, it’s my decision to reject, after acceptance, Ms. Iuele from the program and to request a warrant for her arrest so that she may be brought back before the court for resentencing,” wrote Rodney Hollandsworth, director of Garfield County Community Corrections, in a memorandum dated Monday.

Iuele was brought to Pitkin County District Court on Tuesday for an advisement hearing on the violation. District Judge Gail Nichols has ordered that she be held in the Pitkin County Jail without bail.

Glenwood Springs policeman Thomas Moser wrote in an arrest affidavit that he responded to a theft call at Office Depot on Thursday evening. A “loss prevention associate” for the store reported that Iuele had been stealing by making fraudulent returns onto her personal credit card totaling more than $4,000, the affidavit said.

The store employee also said Iuele made fraudulent returns for cash, pocketing about $450. In addition, the employee said that Iuele admitted to stealing about $20 in merchandise.

Iuele was arrested and transported to the Garfield County Jail and later transferred to the Pitkin County Jail.

Her criminal history also includes convictions for financial-related crimes in La Plata County and Ventura, California, according to local District Court records.