Aspen woman sentenced for rampant fraud |

Aspen woman sentenced for rampant fraud

ASPEN – An Aspen woman who defrauded her co-workers and friends for thousands of dollars will spend the next 40 days in the Pitkin County Jail and more than two years on probation, a judge ruled on Monday.Andrea Jean Born, 35, was arrested in July after her employers at Carol Ann Jacobson Realty in Aspen discovered that she had obtained credit cards in their name and had charged large bills for frivolous items. According to police, she spent at least $24,000 on things such as a tennis vacation in Florida, lingerie and items from Cashmere Aspen.Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols told the court that evidence shows the thefts lasted almost a year and a half. The monetary issue is complicated because Born often used one credit card to pay off another, Nichols said. In a prior instance, Born’s family said they loaned her money so she could pay back some of the money she had stolen, but that her parents had never completely repaid her thefts.”Her brother-in-law and father both said the only way she’ll learn is to go to jail,” Nichols said.Born pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this year. Her victims ranged from friends to co-workers at Carol Ann Jacobson Realty.”We’ve been friends for several years, but I found out in May that she had not only stolen from me but she had been lying to me for years,” a former friend told Judge James Boyd of the 9th Judicial District. “She did nothing but lie and she’s stolen my identity. She went to great lengths to get a credit card in my name.”The woman said that Born told her that a friend of a friend owned a tennis spa in Florida, and so they went there on vacation under the premise that it was a free vacation. But Born really paid for the trip on a fraudulent credit card, the woman said.Born’s attorney, Katharine Sullivan, said her client is working two jobs to pay back the money she stole, including paying $3,200 in restitution on Monday. She is also regularly going to counseling.”She has isolated herself by living these lies,” Sullivan said. “In the last four months her efforts at therapy have been unbelievable. When she was arrested and pleaded guilty, she felt a tremendous amount of relief. She was in a circle that she didn’t see a way out of, being lonely and depressed.”Born openly sobbed during her statement to Boyd yesterday, expressing remorse for the fraud.”I’d like to say that I’m sorry for hurting everybody that I really, really care about,” she said. “It was me not being able to deal with my own life.”I’m sorry I haven’t been able to tell them before now how sorry I am.”Boyd said Born had set the stage to have a law-abiding and successful life by immediately starting to pay off restitution and seeking counseling. But he also noted that Born has been able to commit the crime by developing trust with people and then breaching that trust.”You come across as sincere and plagued by guilt and sorrow, but to accomplish this crime you had a lot of skill at not telling the truth, and persuading others to believe you,” he said. Boyd noted that she victimized more than six people and that the amount of money stolen was substantial.Nichols had requested Born be sentenced to 90 days in jail, while Sullivan asked the judge to sentence her client to 10 days in jail. Boyd gave her 45 days in county jail, along with 30 months of probation, 100 hours of community service and participation in a restorative justice program.Born must also continue with counseling until discharged by her therapist.

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