Mogul theft victims ‘stunned’ by plea deal
Local real estate broker Mark Mogul will serve 30 days in jail and must make monthly restitution payments of $7,900 under the terms of a plea deal struck Wednesday, June 18, but a lawyer representing his victims says Mogul is getting off easy.Patrick Tooley, an attorney for Dill, Dill, Carr, Stonbraker and Hutchings in Denver, says his clients, J.D. Findley and Kit Phillips of Crescent Club Investors, did not agree to the terms of Mogul’s plea bargain.”My clients were stunned when they heard of the disposition,” says Tooley, who represents Findley and Phillips in a separate and ongoing civil action against Mogul.”They have been very badly damaged by Mark Mogul and are very anxious to be made whole, and the amount of restitution in the criminal case did not include all of my clients’ losses, which we will pursue vigorously in the civil case.”Tooley declines to discuss the details of the civil action, including how much money was not covered by restitution in the criminal case, except to say, “It’s a lot.”Mogul pled guilty June 18 to one fourth-degree felony count of theft, punishable by 2-6 years in prison; his judgment and sentence were deferred on that count. He also pled guilty to one second-degree misdemeanor count of theft and agreed to a 30-day jail sentence on that count, which was originally filed as a felony count of theft.”We understood always that the offer was a felony offer,” Tooley says of the misdemeanor count. “(District Attorney) Mark Hurlbert was very up front with us that his deputy had a made a mistake and made an offer that was contrary to the notes that were in the file.”Hurlbert acknowledges the “miscommunication,” but says once the offer was tendered and accepted, his hands were tied.”Unfortunately, when it’s an offer and acceptance, it’s kind of like a contract, and then we’re bound by it,” Hurlbert says. “It still is pretty fair. He is still making almost $8,000 a month in restitution, which is fairly significant.”Mogul, 44, pled guilty to stealing $351,000 from an escrow account containing funds meant to purchase timeshares in vacation properties.Mogul could not be reached for comment Thursday, June 19. His attorney, Terry O’Connor, also did not return a call. A woman answering the phone at Mogul’s home said, “You’ll be hearing from our lawyers, OK?” No attorney representing Mogul called The Vail Trail as of press time.Asked if he is confident Mogul will be able to make restitution, Hurlbert says: “He has assured us that he will be able to make these restitution payments, and it’s part of the plea bargain.”If Mogul doesn’t make restitution, then the deferred judgment can be revoked and he receives a felony conviction and could serve 2-6 years in jail. Hurlbert says he does not know where Mogul currently works.An Aug. 6 sentencing date was set, and Mogul must begin making restitution payments four months after that date.Hurlbert says embezzlement cases are tough to prosecute because getting maximum jail time doesn’t always mesh with making restitution.”You want the victims to be whole and have their money back as soon as possible, and at the same time you want them to do jail time,” Hurlbert says, “and making $2 a day making license plates is not going get a million dollars in restitution.”In another recent high-profile embezzlement case, Karen Sue Kaffka, financial officer for local developer Summit Habitats, agreed to $800,000 in restitution after pilfering $2 million from the company over five years, but avoided jail time on a felony theft count.In a separate case, Brandon Outlaw, a 30-year-old property manager, is accused of stealing $450,000 from several different local condo associations. His jury trial has been set for Nov. 3-13, but Hurlbert says his office is still negotiating a plea deal.
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