A Houston man wanted by authorities for allegedly stealing more than $81,000 from an Aspen resident by intercepting emails and hacking into email accounts turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning.
During a virtual Pitkin County District Court hearing later this afternoon, 21-year-old Chandler Bodtmann waived notice that he was facing felony charges of money laundering, theft and conspiracy.
Magistrate Judge Jonathan Shamis set a personal bond of $250,000 for Bodtmann, who attended the hearing while in the custody of the Pitkin County Jail on what was at the time a bond of $100,000 cash only.
“I am inclined to give the personal bond of $250,000, which acknowledges the seriousness of the offense but also acknowledges that he is presumed innocent,” Shamis said.
In a personal bond, a defendant does not have to post bail unless they violate the terms of their bond or appear in court.
Details of the Aspen Police Department’s investigation of Bodtmann are set out in an arrest warrant affidavit filed June 8 by Detective Jeremy Johnson.
Johnson inherited the investigation from outgoing officer Mark Anderson on July 30, 2021, when the case was less than two months old.
Anderson had been investigating Bodtmann since June 10 of that year after learning from a property manager that a deposit of $81,808 for a new roof on an Aspen Highlands home had not been received by the intended recipient. The transfer was for a 50% deposit to the company hired to replace the roof.
The property manager didn’t realize the plan until earlier in the morning when someone posing as a roofing company manager via email demanded an extra 25% on the total cost of 163 $116. Becoming suspicious, the property manager called the company manager, who said he hadn’t sent the email. The property manager then turned himself in to the police, according to the affidavit, which was based on the findings of Anderson’s investigation.
Anderson’s investigation led him to the manager of the roofing company, who said staff email accounts had been compromised and emails were being intercepted. The wire transfer had gone to a different bank than the one used by the company, the executive said.
Deeper into the investigation, Anderson was able to connect the IP address that had been used to connect to the roofing company’s Internet server to Bodtmann, who opened a bank account for the stolen funds under the name of a limited company that he controlled, the affidavit alleged.
Anderson was able to obtain the LLC’s bank records through a court order signed by Judge Chris Seldin on November 10, according to the affidavit. During his review of the records, Anderson learned that Bodtmann’s LLC had received $81,808 from the alleged victim on June 3.
While the LLC account was open from March 22, 2021 to June 22, 2021, total deposits of $408,844 were made. The same amount was withdrawn during this period, according to the affidavit. Most of the withdrawals were made in Houston, according to an affidavit.
Other businesses that were defrauded by Bodtmann included a tile company in Georgia and a glass trading company in Miami, according to the affidavit.
Anderson called Bodtmann on November 23 about what he had discovered, and Bodtmann said he himself had been hacked and referred the investigator to his attorney.
While corresponding with Anderson, the lawyer said that Bodtmann and one of his friends were recruited and threatened by a Nigerian scammer named “Flex O”.
Yet the information provided by the lawyer had no “evidence value”, according to the affidavit.
“The background to this case suggests that some coercion was involved,” Denver defense attorney Douglas Richards said on behalf of Bodtmann.
The Aspen resident was allegedly cheated by Bodtmann and paid $16.9 million for the home in March 2021, property records show.