Alleged visa scam case heads to trial
On their first appearance in Eagle County District Court, the attorneys for Marina Puerto, 52, and Juvenal Puerto, 62, moved for a motion hearing on Aug. 1. This is the last step before going to trial, said Terri O’Connor, Juvenal Puerto’s attorney.
In the past months, O’Connor and James Fahrenholtz, Marina Puerto’s attorney, have been trying to reach a plea agreement with the Eagle County District Attorney’s office.
The Puertos, of Avon, who face theft and conspiracy charges, are out on $15,000 bail each and Eagle County Court is holding on to their passports. The couple, who used to work for Vail Resorts, are accused of charging a group of Hondurans about $2,000 each for work visas – documents the ski company processes at its own expense.
“We want to go to trial because our clients are innocent,” Fahrenholtz said.
“We’re not looking for a plea bargain unless it involves dismissal.”
If the Puertos were convicted on theft charges, a class-III felony, they could get between 4 and 16 years in prison. If the Puertos plead guilty or if they are convicted, however, they could be placed on probation and avoid going to jail, O’Connor said.
“We’re not making another offer because this was a reasonable one,” said District Attorney Mike Goodbee.