More charges in theft case against New Castle woman
August 31, 2014
Prosecutors continue to build on the case against a New Castle woman accused of stealing at least $100,000 from her Carbondale employer between 2009 and 2012.
Erin Pressler, 45, now faces additional charges related to state and federal income tax fraud and Social Security theft covering that same period of time, bringing the total number of felony and misdemeanor counts against her to 68.
A jury trial in the case has also been postponed for a second time, from September until January. The trial, which was originally set for April of this year, is now scheduled to commence on Jan. 20, 2015.
Pressler is accused of stealing at least $100,000 from her employer, Jim Pribil of Designer Door Hardware in Carbondale during the three years she worked for the business.
She was originally arrested June 19, 2012, on three counts of second-degree burglary, a felony, along with second-degree tampering, a misdemeanor, and a "computer crime" valued at less than $500. The arrest came after an investigation initiated by Pribil after Pressler quit her job in May 2012, according to court documents.
Subsequent investigations turned up evidence that Pressler allegedly forged Pribil's signature on checks and used company credit cards to pay personal expenses from April 2009 through May 2012. Pressler was arrested a second time on Nov. 1, 2012, for the new charges. She was released from the Garfield County Jail that same day after posting $7,500 bond, and remains free pending trial.
According to recent filings in the case by 9th District Attorney Sherry Caloia, evidence leading to additional charges surfaced while investigating the anticipated trial defense that the stolen money was legitimate compensation.
With help from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the investigation revealed that Pressler was not reporting any of the allegedly stolen money as income on her taxes, and that she filed her taxes under husband Rod Pressler's Social Security number, Caloia wrote in an Aug. 8 motion to amend the charges.
"Furthermore, the investigation revealed that she had been receiving sizable payments from the Social Security Disability fund," Caloia wrote.
Specifically, "Defendant claimed disability with the Social Security Administration, lied to them about not working while she was actually working for Designer Door Hardware … then reported her legitimate wages under her husband's Social Security Number so as to avoid detection," the DA alleged.
All of this occurred while Pressler was allegedly embezzling money from her employer, Caloia wrote in arguing that the new charges should be added to the existing case against Pressler rather than filing a second case.
That motion was granted Aug. 12 by District Judge Denise Lynch.
The new charges include four counts of filing false tax returns, a class 5 felony, for four straight years from 2010-2013.
Pressler also now faces seven counts of Social Security theft, a class 4 felony, for claims made on separate occasions between March 2009 and May 2012. A total amount for the allegedly fraudulent Social Security claims is not mentioned, but each individual case was between $1,000 and $20,000, according to the new charges.
In January of this year, Pressler lost her private attorney, Tom Silverman, following a lack of payment for his services and other "irreconcilable differences," according to Silverman's request to withdraw from the case that was filed with the court at the time.
After that, Pressler was initially denied a request to be assigned a public defender because of her income and assets, but later was determined by the judge to qualify for public defense.
Late last year, the alleged victim in the embezzlement case, Pribil, also reported road-rage encounters with both Erin and Rod Pressler on I-70. The reports prompted the judge to issue a restraining order forbidding further contact between the Presslers and Pribil.