Update: Jury selection in Pressler case continues
Update: Jury selection began Tuesday in the Erin Pressler case, but a full jury was not seated by day’s end.
After many twists and turns in her case, the second attempt at a jury trial for Erin Pressler is to begin today.
Pressler, from New Castle, faces charges that she embezzled from Designer Door Hardware during her three years working there, from 2009-2012, and committed tax fraud, though the case has involved dozens of counts against her over the last three years.
The case has history of false starts. A trial was scheduled for April 2014 with a private defense attorney, but it was delayed when Pressler’s attorney cited nonpayment and irreconcilable differences.
Then her first trial began nearly one year ago, but Judge Denise Lynch declared a mistrial after a juror and the alternate juror were dismissed.
Another trial was scheduled for April 2015, but the prosecuting attorney was leaving the district attorney’s office and his replacement was disqualified. Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett has since taken his place.
Pressler is accused of embezzling $180,000 from Designer Door Hardware of Glenwood Springs, according to owner Jim Pribil’s calculation. She’s also charged with collecting $33,000 in invalid Social Security payments and filing false tax returns from the same period, according to previous Post Independent reports.
Her defense said during her first trial that she had the owner’s permission to use company money, even on personal expenses.
But within a week of Pressler quitting over an argument with Pribil, he contacted the sheriff’s office. Though he had changed the locks to the business, he found days later that the business’s accounting software had been deleted, he told police.
Pressler was first charged in June 2012 with second-degree burglary, second-degree tampering and computer crimes. But a further investigation into the business’ finances piled on dozens more charges of theft, embezzlement, identity theft and forgery.
More counts of filing false tax returns and Social Security theft followed.
The judge also issued a restraining order after reports of road rage between Rod Pressler, her husband, and Pribil in late 2013. And a friend of Pressler’s said she had confided that she had chased Pribil on I-70 around South Canyon, trying to “force him to run her off the road, so she could sue him,” according to an affidavit.
Prior to Pressler’s January 2015 mistrial, the district attorney’s office had filed 68 counts against her. But prosecutors later condensed those charges into one count of burglary, one count of computer crime, two counts of theft and four counts of filing a false tax return.
Pressler’s trial is scheduled for two weeks. And alongside the jury trial is a civil suit that was put on hold pending the criminal case outcome.
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Robert Shapiro was sentenced to the maximum 25 years in prison for running a $1.3 million real estate Ponzi scheme that claimed more than 7,000 victims.