Disbarred lawyer shopping in Aspen had access to 73 credit cards in other people’s names, police say | SteamboatToday.com

Disbarred lawyer shopping in Aspen had access to 73 credit cards in other people’s names, police say

Jason Auslander/The Aspen Times
Alan Cohen
Alan Cohen

Aspen police found more than 60 credit cards and a trove of electronics, clothing and other people’s unopened mail in the car of a disbarred lawyer arrested earlier this month for shopping downtown with other people’s credit cards.

The entire booty — which includes a drone that shoots video — may be worth $30,000 or more, said Aspen police Detective Ritchie Zah.

“It’s kind of a shock to see how much stuff was there, and how many people are affected,” Zah said.

Alan Cohen, 50, has so far been charged with identity theft, criminal impersonation and criminal possession of a financial device — all felonies — based on the 12 credit cards in other people’s names he had on him when he was arrested Oct. 9 in Aspen.

Further charges may be likely based on the items found in Cohen’s 2009 white Ford Crown Victoria.

Cohen, meanwhile, posted a $7,500 bond after he was arrested and was allowed to leave the state, according to court records. He is due back in Pitkin County District Court on Nov. 6.

A District Court judge signed a search warrant for Cohen’s car two days after he was arrested. It took Aspen police until Tuesday to catalog all the receipts, credit card fragments and merchandise found inside the car.

The catalog of items includes six random Citibank or Citibank/Best Buy credit cards found in the car, as well as a cache of 55 Citibank/Best Buy credit cards — all in other people’s names, according to the search warrant and Zah. Also seized were 19 credit card notification slips belonging to 19 separate people that include the person’s name, address, account number, credit limit and cash limit, the warrant states.

Including the 12 credit cards police found in Cohen’s pocket when they arrested him outside the Louis Vuitton store in downtown Aspen, that means he had access to at least 73 individual credit cards. Zah said he suspects there may be more credit cards in the U.S. Postal Service bag of mail and the USPS priority mail box of unopened return-to-sender mail found in Cohen’s car.

Electronics seized under the search warrant include 21 Apple IPads, 21 sets of Apple wireless headphones called AirPods, five Apple IPhone 8s, 1 Apple MacBook Pro and 1 Apple MacBook Air, according to the warrant. Police also found an Inspire 2 drone for shooting video and a gimbal stabilization system for shooting stable video, the warrant states.

Other items include brand-name clothing, a Burberry watch and business cards from an unspecified attorney and a “Dollars for Gold” business. Zah said such gold-based businesses often buy electronics.

Some of the evidence — including a drone for shooting video in the large box — seized two weeks ago from the car of a disbarred lawyer arrested Oct. 9 for allegedly using other people’s credit cards at high-end stores in downtown Aspen.

“To my understanding, he steals credit cards and uses them to buy a lot of merchandise,” Zah said. “It has happened before.”

Cohen was arrested in November 2015 with 16 Citibank credit cards in his pocket after police found him urinating in the parking lot of an Indiana mall. They later discovered about 90 credit cards in his car, none of them in Cohen’s name, according to media reports.

The former lawyer was disbarred and voluntarily gave up his law license in February 2010 after admitting he stole from clients, according to media reports and an order from the Missouri Supreme Court.

Cohen was charged with felony theft by the Brentwood Police Department in Missouri on Aug. 19, 2010 and felony theft a year later by the St. Louis County Police Department, according to the search warrant. He also was charged with trafficking in stolen identities and receiving stolen property by the St. Charles, Missouri Police Department in December 2015, the warrant states.

Cohen was arrested in Aspen after behaving strangely at high-end stores like Prada, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana. His behavior included refusing to show identification to go with credit cards he presented, and trying to use credit cards in other people’s names, according to the warrant.

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At Louis Vuitton, an employee told police Cohen was on his phone texting with people a lot, as well as taking pictures of merchandise and sending it out, the warrant states.

“Cohen explained that he was shopping for other people,” according to the warrant.
After he was caught at Louis Vuitton, Cohen declined to speak with police officers. At the time, he was carrying shopping bags from Lululemon and Prada containing nearly $1,700 worth of purchases, and bought nearly $1,300 worth of items from Louis Vuitton. All purchases were made using credit cards in other people’s names, the warrant states.

Cohen later declined to speak with Zah at the Pitkin County Jail, according to the warrant.

Zah said he seized Cohen’s phone and IPad and plans to analyze them to try to find out more details about Cohen’s activities.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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