Ron Braden still at large after removing his GPS monitoring device
Facing more than 100 charges for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers and then resisting arrest, the town of Vail’s former IT director remained at large Tuesday — four days after allegedly removing his court-ordered GPS monitoring device while out on bond and then disappearing.
According to the town, Ronald James Braden’s monitoring device sent a tamper alert at 12:45 p.m. last Friday and then stopped tracking. Authorities on Saturday said two of Braden’s vehicles were found in separate locations, one at the Walmart in Avon where Braden was reportedly seen on security camera footage being picked up by someone in a silver Toyota 4Runner.
Braden, 55, worked as the town of Vail’s IT director for more than two decades. The town of Vail and FBI investigated Braden for 18 months for allegedly plotting to defraud taxpayers of more than $800,000 over six years. That investigation began shortly after Braden left the town’s employment in November 2018, following his arrest for allegedly hiring an underage prostitute. That case was settled when Braden pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and engaging in prostitution and was sentenced to five years of probation and community service.
According to court records, Braden faces a lengthy list of criminal charges in at least four separate cases — with approximately 100 felony charges in his fraud case, including violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. Those charges include racketeering, theft of $100,000 to $1 million, computer crime, embezzlement, forgery of a government issued document, offering a false instrument for recording, and 93 counts of forgery of a check or commercial instrument.
Braden faces additional criminal charges in connection to his arrest July 4. Those charges include second-degree assault of a peace officer, disarming a police officer, unlawful weapon possession, possession of a prohibited large capacity magazine, obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest.
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Court records show Braden also faces at least two charges for violation of a protective order and three charges for violation of bond conditions.
Court records show Braden posted a $250,000 bond on Aug. 27. According to those records, he was ordered not to leave home to exercise or travel or to leave without prior permission.
A court register of actions shows a series of motions made in Braden’s cases both to revoke and modify his bond and conditions. Those motions include a request to revoke Braden’s bond on Sept. 21, notice of an equipment violation report to the court on Sept. 30, motions to allow him to leave the county for medical care and other necessities, and a motion for Geo Reentry Services to provide Braden’s daily schedule to the Vail Police Department.
Access to court records for additional information about those motions was not immediately available. Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum did not respond to requests for comment about Braden’s cases. Neither did an attorney that court records indicate is representing Braden.
Braden remains scheduled to appear in court Thursday and Friday for preliminary hearings and first appearances in his cases.
According to court records, Braden’s alleged co-conspirator, Eric Nastri, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nastri for Dec. 16.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.