Mogul rejects new plea; heads to trial
Former Avon real estate agent Mark Mogul, who, beginning March 29 was facing a five-day trial on theft charges, rejected a new plea bargain Wednesday, pushing his trial date to the end of the summer.
Mogul, 44, who now lives in Breckenridge and is out on a $50,000 bond, is charged with two counts of theft. He is accused of keeping $351,000 from time-share sales from Crescent Club Investors and Crescent Club Holdings in Edwards.
“At this point, I’m not going to accept the plea because I haven’t committed a crime,” said Mogul.
The new plea offered by District Attorney Mark Hurlbert included payment of full restitution up front – $351,000. It also included a deferred judgment sentence on the felony charge, which means the charge would be removed from Mogul’s records in four years after restitution is paid in full and if he doesn’t commit a crime.
Hurlbert said he was surprised with Mogul’s decision not to accept the plea.
“We went with full restitution this time, because we wanted to make the victims whole,” Hurlbert said. “If (Mogul) is going to benefit from the deferred judgment sentence, he needs to pay restitution.”
In November, Mogul entered a plea of not guilty after District Judge Richard Hart rejected a plea agreement and set the embezzlement case for trial.
In June, Mogul had pleaded guilty to stealing the money. Then, he pleaded guilty to a class four felony theft charge – which can carry two to six years in prison – and agreed to pay Crescent Club Investors and Crescent Club Holdings $7,900 a month until all the money was paid off. Although County Judge Fred Gannett accepted the plea in June, Hart rejected the plea at a sentencing in November because he said the victims were against the deal.
Following Hart’s decision, Mogul entered a not guilty plea and the trial date was set for March 29.
“I’m going to trial, where I will be found not guilty and then I’ll be vindicated,” said a calm Mogul after Wednesday’s hearing. “I’ve never committed a crime in my life. My partners have made me a scapegoat.
“They don’t have any evidence,” he added, “only allegations.”
Hurlbert, however, said the prosecution has evidence or otherwise it wouldn’t have brought charges against Mogul.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Mogul also waived his right to a speedy trial. A new trial date will be set on March 31, when Mogul’s new attorney makes his first appearance in court. Local defense attorney Terry O’Connor on Wednesday asked to be excused from the case.
Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Mogul in August 2002. According to court records, the alleged illegal transactions began in August 2001. The case took about a year to investigate, police said.
Mogul, who had been working in the valley for several years, was supposed to keep the money in an escrow account and then turn it over to the owners of the time-shares, police said. But on the date of the transactions, the money that had been wire-transferred to an escrow account never went to the sellers, said Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Winter said when Mogul was arrested.
“Mr. Mogul kept the money in escrow and never released the funds,” Winters said.
As a partner in the company, Mogul said Wednesday, he had power to use the money to pay the company’s debts.
“(The partners) claim they don’t know where the money went, I spent it to pay the debt of the company,” Mogul said.
At the November hearing, former Deputy District Attorney Dave Moffet told Judge Hart that Mogul took a lot of money over a long period of time.
“It’s a case that deserves some criminal sanctions,” he said.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com.
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