Gypsum man accused of fraud, theft across multiple counties pleads not guilty on two charges
Jesse Flores was taken into custody Wednesday on a Lake County arrest warrant
Jesse Flores, the 20-year-old Gypsum man facing 24 felony charges across six counties, walked into an Eagle County courtroom Wednesday morning to plead not guilty on two local charges and left the courtroom in handcuffs.
Flores has been charged with various combinations of motor vehicle theft, theft, fraud by check and forgery, all felonies, after he allegedly wrote about $728,000 in bad checks to steal a variety of cars, trucks, trailers, ATVs and snowmobiles from their owners last year.
These incidents added up to 18 felony charges spread across Eagle, Chaffee, Grand, Mesa, Routt and Summit counties.
In March of this year, six more felony charges and a misdemeanor were tacked onto Flores’ growing rap sheet. He was charged with six counts of felony violation of bail bond conditions, and a new misdemeanor charge of cybercrime to scheme or defraud after he allegedly schemed a West Virginia man who tried to purchase a hunting bow from him.
Flores had been out on bond when he walked into district court Wednesday morning for an arraignment on two local cases – one for motor vehicle theft and fraud by check and the other for the additional charges he incurred in March.
He pleaded not guilty on all charges, and trial dates for the two cases were set for the fall. The first trial will take place from Oct. 25 to Oct. 29 and the second from Nov. 15 to Nov. 19.
After asking for more time to find an attorney to represent him in these trials, Flores will come back to court at the end of July to determine whether or not he will represent himself.
A representative speaking on behalf of Flores’ current attorney Gary Fielder said there were “several people, potentially many people” outside of the courthouse Wednesday morning that made Flores feel “intimidated” and “unsafe” as he was entering the building.
Judge Paul Dunkelman of the 5th Judicial District said the court could arrange for someone to escort Flores to his car after the hearing, but that it could not assure his safety beyond that point. Ultimately, though, that wasn’t necessary as Flores was not allowed to leave.
As the hearing was coming to a close, it was mentioned that Flores had a warrant out for his arrest out of Lake County, where he faces felony charges of criminal impersonation and theft.
At that point, there was a long pause as Judge Dunkelman attempted to get in touch with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to determine whether Flores should be taken into custody on the charges.
In the meantime, Flores stood at the podium, watching the officials decipher whether he would leave a free man, for now, or be remanded to the Eagle County Jail.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office directed that he be taken into custody on the charges, with his bond set at $10,000, and Flores sat in the jury booth awaiting an officer to escort him to the jail.
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