GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A Carbondale woman on Thursday pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in what was originally prosecuted as a felony theft case.
Teresa Garcia, former owner of Regalos y Deportes Jenny, a now-closed pawn shop at 569 Main St. in Carbondale, admitted to violating a state regulation governing pawn brokers, and another regulation governing the sale of second-hand property.
Garfield County Judge Paul Metzger fined Garcia $750 and sentenced her to two years of unsupervised probation after hearing her plea.
Garcia, 54, originally was accused of theft by filing false insurance claims after reporting that she had been attacked and robbed by armed assailants in May and September of 2011. Carbondale police officers reported finding Garcia in the bathroom of her store, her feet and hands bound by duct tape.
The reported robberies involved the loss of jewelry, checks and cash belonging to her business.
Police initially prepared a composite sketch of the suspects, as described by Garcia, and circulated the sketches to local media in hopes of developing leads.
Police later shifted their investigation to Garcia.
Following months of investigation by police and the 9th District Attorney's office, authorities concluded the robbery reports were faked and accused Garcia of trying to commit insurance fraud.
Garcia initially pleaded not guilty, but this week agreed to the plea bargain offered by Deputy DA Sandra Kister.
"She was not aware that she had to keep the kind of detailed records that the law says they have to," said Garcia's attorney, Bill Schubert of Glenwood Springs, regarding the pawn shop business.
He said Garcia had gotten into the business of buying and selling gold, but had not planned to become a pawn broker.
But she found herself fielding requests from customers to lend them money based on the value of family jewelry and other items, he explained.
She started complying with the requests, but failed to keep the kinds of records expected by state authorities.