Outlaw pleads guilty to embezzling charges
With his hands crossed in front of him and sounding repentant, former Avon resident Brandon Outlaw Wednesday twice told an Eagle County judge he was guilty of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from local homeowners.During a hearing at the Eagle County Justice Center, Outlaw, 32, admitted to stealing $600,000 in local homeowners fees and illegally charging $24,000 on his employer’s credit card. Outlaw pleaded guilty to two counts of felony theft and could end up in prison for a maximum of 12 years for each charge.Outlaw, who now lives in Tulsa, Okla., also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for not registering in Eagle County as a convicted sex offender. His sentencing date will be set on Aug. 25.”I regret what I did,” Outlaw said minutes before District Judge Tom Moorhead accepted his plea. “There’s no way I’ll be able to repay the damage I’ve done.”Outlaw also faces federal drug charges in Oklahoma, which are still pending. In March, he was indicted by an Oklahoma federal grand jury on drug trafficking charges. Before the indictment, Outlaw also faced state drug trafficking charges, but that case was dismissed in June.”I’m pleased he is pleading to two felonies and that he will be going to prison,” said District Attorney Mark Hurlbert. But Hurlbert said he’s worried Outlaw won’t be able to repay the $600,000 he owes the homeowners if he is in prison.But Jeff Antonius, a Vail Point homeowner and one of approximately 400 victims, said the deal is acceptable.”We said we’d forgo the money to put the guy in prison,” Antonius said. In December, Moorhead rejected a plea deal in which Outlaw would have been ordered to repay $112,000 up front and spend up to 90 days in the county jail. A probation officer recommended then that Outlaw be sent to state prison for six years. This time, prosecutors are recommending Outlaw go to prison, perhaps serving a time concurrently with a federal corrections sentence if he is found guilty on the charges in Oklahoma. “We’re hoping that the judge will serve him with a longer sentence, the maximum that Colorado law permits, based on the period of time that he embezzled, and the amount of money and his prior criminal history,” Antonius said.In 1994, Outlaw was convicted in Oklahoma of felony sexual battery and sentenced to three years in prison. He served a little more than a year before he was released in August 1995.In Eagle County, Outlaw is accused of embezzling $700,000 from about 400 locals through PRM Realty, a now defunct Eagle-Vail property management company that did business with numerous homeowners’ associations in the valley. PRM owner Jim Poppleton filed a complaint with police on Jan. 22, 2002, alleging that $442,000 worth of condo-fee checks collected by PRM over the previous year were not deposited in the company’s various bank accounts. It is suspected that Outlaw forged Poppleton’s signature and cashed the checks, the criminal complaint says.”He is a risk taker,” Poppleton said after Outlaw’s plea on Wednesday.Outlaw said Wednesday he took the money to build a house.”I expected to sell it and recover the money to put it back,” he said. “Then the real estate market fell out here and I lost the home to the bank because I couldn’t keep paying the mortgage.”I’m sorry for the damage I’ve done, especially to Jim (Poppleton),” Outlaw added. Along with losing his company after the embezzlement, Poppleton recently filed for bankruptcy.Outlaw’s criminal fileConvictions• Aiding in misdemeanor (misdemeanor). Convicted January 1993; District Court, Payne County, Okla.• Misrepresentation of age (misdemeanor). Convicted January 1993; District Court, Tulsa County, Okla. • Obstructing an officer (misdemeanor). Convicted May 1994; District Court, Tulsa County, Okla.• Sexual battery (felony). Convicted May 1994; District Court, Tulsa County, Okla..• Assault and battery (misdemeanor). Convicted April 1998; District Court, Tulsa County, Okla.Still pending• Two counts of theft, one count of a misdemeanor sexual offense for not registering in Eagle County as a convicted sexual offender. Eagle County District Court.• Trafficking in illegal drugs. Federal Court, Okla..Source: The Oklahoma State Courts Network Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com.