DENVER - A Denver Grand Jury has returned a 137 count indictment against members of a Denver family alleging that they were in the business of ripping people off.
The indictment states that Elena Romero, her sons Andres Torres, Robert Torres, Gabriel Joseph Torres, a granddaughter, Monica (Quintero-Cota) Torres, and the granddaughter’s husband, Jaime Quintero, took part in a racketeering scheme that allegedly cost several local businesses and financial institutions more than $900,000.
"This was a fairly sophisticated operation in terms of being able to falsify a lot of different types of documents," said Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.
Kimbrough says family members created false companies and forged employment and pay documents in order to obtain loans.
The indictment alleges that over the last several years, family members used the loans to purchase 12 cars.
The indictment also alleges that family members forged payment documents which showed the loans had been paid off. After falsely obtaining titles to the cars, they turned around and sold them.
Kimbrough says the family's scheme came to light when they wrote three checks to the Coors Credit Union on an account that had been closed for a year.
"Coors filed a complaint and the investigation led to other victims," Kimbrough said.
Andres Torres, Robert Torres, Elena Romero, and Monica (Quintero Cota) Torres were each charged with violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, money laundering, aggravated motor vehicle theft, theft and forgery, in addition to other felony charges.
Gabriel Torres, Jorge Chacon, Jaime Quintero and Alicia Torres were indicted on related felony charges.
Andres Torres, Robert Torres and Gabriel Torres remain in custody in the Denver Detention Center. They are scheduled to appear in Denver District Court on Friday. Elena Romero and the other co-defendants have bonded out and are scheduled to appear in Denver District Court on August 4. Monica Quintero-Cota remains at large and is being sought.
A family member who answered the door at 4938 Hooker Street declined comment saying she "didn’t know what was going on."
Some of the family members have a history of economic crime.
In 2001, The Denver Post reported that Andres Torres took advantage of Colorado's loose real estate laws and lax enforcement to acquire homes and apartment buildings. When he couldn’t afford to pay his loans, he created new companies and imaginary loans and began the process all over again. The Post article states that he spent time in prison for his wrong-doing.
When asked if investigators are seeing more people create false companies to benefit financially, Kimbrough replied, "I don’t know if there is a higher number of those types of cases, but certainly technology today has enabled people, who already have a disposition towards trying to steal money from other people, to do that."