Local computer store owner to appeal tampering sentence
BRECKENRIDGE – If Jon Ginsberg made mistakes, they were giving up his product and service without payment, taking his complaint to the police, who later charged him with a crime, and not hiring an attorney to represent him at trial.
That’s his story.
Breckenridge Municipal Judge Buck Allen, however, denied Ginsberg’s attorney’s motion Wednesday to dismiss the charges or grant Ginsberg a new trial. Allen sentenced Ginsberg to $175 in fines, court costs and restitution. The judge also granted a stay of execution freeing Ginsberg from paying the fine until his appeal of the sentence is heard.
Allen found Ginsberg guilty Oct. 9 of criminal tampering.
According to court reports, Wildwood Suites hired Ginsberg, owner of Rocky Mountain Computer and Cable, to work on a computer in June. Ginsberg later approached police, saying he had replaced a computer hard drive for the company but had not been paid. Ginsberg told the officer he had put a password on the computer keeping staff at Wildwood Suites from using the computer until the bill was paid.
About 35 minutes later, an employee from Wildwood Suites called police, reporting Ginsberg had been in their office that morning and had tampered with the computer. The company hired another computer specialist, who undid Ginsberg’s password later and sent Ginsberg the bill.
Police asked Ginsberg to return to the police department, and Ginsberg admitted to putting the password on the computer. The officer explained that the nonpayment issue was a matter of civil law – which police do not handle – but the tampering was a criminal act.
“I’ve always contended this was fraud against me from day one,” Ginsberg said. “I’m innocent. It was my computer, and that’s why it was returned to me at the trial.”
Ginsberg said publicity from the incident has brought him undue scrutiny from the Better Business Bureau, and he worries that any client now will break contracts with him and take him to court.
Ginsberg’s attorney hoped to convince the judge that Ginsberg believed the computer was his and, therefore, had no criminal intent in putting the password in place. The attorney tried to introduce letters from the client that showed the computer belonged to Ginsberg.
The town’s prosecutor, however, argued the computer belonged to the client the moment it was delivered, according to the state’s commercial code. In addition, Ginsberg stated he intended to cause the client distress with the password, a necessary part of the criminal tampering ordinance.
Ginsberg filed a civil suit against Wildwood Suites in an attempt to collect restitution for the use of his computer. He appears in county court Dec. 16.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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