Convicted valley embezzler busted in Oklahoma
December 2, 2003
When an Eagle County District Court judge accepted Brandon Outlaw’s guilty plea in October, Dan Havlik, president of the West Lake Homeowners Association, said: “Are we transferring a problem from Eagle County to Tulsa?”
By the time Havlik said that, Outlaw, who pleaded guilty to stealing $700,000 in condo fees from about 400 homeowners in Eagle County, had already been suspected of breaking the law in Oklahoma.
According to court records filed in the district court in Tulsa County, Okla., Outlaw, 30, a former resident of Avon, faces two counts of trafficking in illegal drugs. He is accused of selling cocaine and ecstasy – 500 MDMA tablets, court records say.
This month, Outlaw will be in court in two states within a week on two different felony charges.
On Dec. 11, he’ll appear in district court in Tulsa County for a preliminary hearing. On Dec. 16, he’ll be in Eagle County District Court for his sentencing on theft charges.
According to court records, Outlaw’s trafficking offense happened on June 26 in Tulsa County. That was months before he pleaded guilty to stealing from several homewoners associations in Eagle County.
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Eagle County District Judge Tom Moorhead moved forward with a plea agreement offered by District Attorney Mark Hurlbert that includes restitution of $112,000 and no jail time. The conditions of the plea didn’t include prison time because this was apparently Outlaw’s first felony offense.
“The fact that Outlaw allegedly committed another felony crime previous to his plea offer for the theft crime could change the future of the agreement initially accepted by Moorhead,” Hurlbert said Tuesday.
On Dec. 16, Moorhead could accept Hurlbert’s request of a six- to 12-month home detention sentence. Outlaw’s attorney requested that be served in Tulsa, where Outlaw will work.
“Nothing but prison’
The Eagle County District Attorney’s Office didn’t learn about Outlaw’s arrest in Oklahoma until Nov. 25, when a probation officer in Tulsa County wrote an e-mail to Eagle County prosecutor Dave Moffat telling him of the trafficking charges.
“If the offense was previous to the offer, I could revoke it,” Hurlbert said. “I have to see if I do that. I need to review the case and talk to the victims to see if they want to go forward with the plea or not.”
According to Tulsa County court records, charges against Outlaw were filed on July 1. Outlaw posted $25,000 bond on June 27, the day after the alleged offense took place. He was arraigned on the trafficking charges on Aug. 12, when he entered a not guilty plea. Three preliminary hearings followed, one on Sept. 18, another one on Oct. 16 and the last one on Nov. 6.
Though the Vail Daily didn’t have access to the affidavit in the Oklahoma case, Jared Sigler, an assistant district attorney in Tulsa County, said a person has to be caught with at least 30 grams of cocaine and between 30 and 100 tablets of ecstasy to be charged with trafficking.
Even If Outlaw agreed to a guilty plea in the Oklahoma case, Sigler said, he would still serve time in state prison.
“For a trafficking offense you can get nothing but prison,” Sigler said. “By statute, you can’t plea to a trafficking charge without going to prison.”
If he’s convicted on any of the trafficking charges, Outlaw could get from 10 years to life in prison, Sigler said.
Judge’s decision looms
And this would work against any restitution payments to the victims in Eagle County.
“I think there is only a minimal prospect of Outlaw adhering to any program for repayment,” says John Watt, a Tulsa County probation officer, in his e-mail to Moffat.
Jeff Antonius, a Vail Point homeowner who lost about $2,000 in the embezzlement, said Outlaw should be behind bars just because of what he did in Eagle County.
“If this event in Tulsa hadn’t happened, Outlaw should still go to jail,” Antonius said.
Although dozens of homeowners are asking Moorhead to reject Outlaw’s plea agreement on Dec. 16, Antonius said homeowners might now change their minds.
“Nobody will throw away $100,000 knowing that he will go to jail anyways,” Antonius said. “But I can’t talk for all the homeowners.
“This tells you about the character and the makeup of this person,” Antonius said. “But what is scary is that this guy had been arraigned for drug trafficking and we didn’t know about it.”
Outlaw pleaded guilty to stealing the money from an Eagle-Vail property management company. He turned himself in to authorities in July 2002 after a six-month investigation and is out on a $100,000 bond.
The alleged crime in Oklahoma could also be a violation to his bond, Hurlbert said.
“We could go forward with the sentencing and then see what happens with the case in Tulsa,” Hurlbert said. “And then see whether if we could file violations of bond.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.