Eagle County school board member faces theft charges | VailDaily.com

Eagle County school board member faces theft charges

EAGLE, Colorado – An Eagle County School Board member is facing three charges of felony theft after his company mistakenly received about $100,000.

Jason Benderly’s company, Benderly Economics Inc. of Vail, was wired $99,200 by Morgan Stanley in 2007, according to an affadavit for an arrest warrant filed June 15 in District Court. Benderly thought the money was for “future work” his company was to do for Barings Asset Management, a division of Morgan Stanley, the document says.

But Morgan Stanley said it meant to send the money to a different company, Deutsche/Bender Securities in Istanbul, Turkey.

A Morgan Stanley official said he e-mailed and called Benderly hundreds of times after the mistake was discovered in September 2007, according to the court document. In December, Benderly told Morgan Stanley that he had already spent the money on staff bonuses, the court filing said.

Benderly paid back Morgan Stanley $10,000 in January 2008, and said he was working on getting the rest of the money – $89,200 – from a partner in a gas and oil investment, the court document says.

He again told Morgan Stanley in April 2008 that he intended to pay back the money, but they didn’t hear from him for the next 11 months, the court document says.

Benderly told investigators he was “hoping in the long run it could be resolved through Barings or just go away, or if they came back I would just have to deal with it,” according to the court document.

A lawyer for Morgan Stanley contacted the local District Attorney’s Office in January. Benderly was arrested June 15 and charged with three counts of felony theft.

Gary Lozow, an attorney who represents Benderly, said Benderly doesn’t dispute that he owes the money and plans to pay it back soon.

“For Mr. Benderly, his hopes are that this matter will be resolved economically and civilly and in an expedited fashion,” Lozow said.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert did not return a message Thursday.

Benderly, who lives in Vail, was elected to the school board in 2007. His has worked in economic research and forecasting for over 30 years and has previously worked for Goldman Sachs and Prudential Insurance Co., according to his company’s Web site.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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