Counterfeiter sentenced to four years in Aspen case
ASPEN – A California man was sentenced to four years in the Department of Corrections for his role in a counterfeiting ring that preyed on Aspen businesses last summer.
Andrew Allan McCollum, 34, wept as he read from a statement to Judge Gail Nichols on Monday in Pitkin County District Court, where he conceded that “my intentions were never really good.”
McCollum, who has three prior felony convictions, apologized to the residents of Aspen and vowed to change his ways.
“I promise when this is all behind me, I’m going to try hard to do the right thing,” McCollum said. He pleaded guilty March 1 to the class-five felony charge of forgery in connection to passing out fake $100 bills to Aspen businesses.
Nichols told McCollum, who is from Escondido, Calif., that his previous criminal convictions in California, combined with the Aspen counterfeiting conviction, made him a candidate for the Department of Corrections.
“Like you said, Mr. McCollum, you have gone through life cheating, and it shows,” the judge said.
Nichols added that McCollum’s counterfeiting activities hurt the Aspen community “very badly.”
She added: “It undermines the whole currency of the United States, and in some senses the whole world because the world is using euros and other types of dollars.”
However, the judge noted that McCollum, who previously served prison time in California, has demonstrated he has the ability to change for the better, based on his success in kicking a methamphetamine habit.
“You have the ability to change,” she said, adding that “you are one of the few people in your situation to show that you can change.”
During the hearing, public defender Stephen McCrohan argued that McCollum has been the most forthcoming of the three counterfeiting suspects. The other two, Christian Adam Gaxiola, 31, and Francesco Anthony Saputo, 29, also of Escondido, Calif., cut deals with the district attorney’s office by snitching on McCollum, McCrohan said.
McCollum was given credit for 134 days spent in Pitkin County jail. He also must submit to DNA testing and was sentenced to a mandatory parole term of two years.