Summit DA: More charges pending against Scoop Daniel
December 16, 2011
Royal “Scoop” Daniel III, a former Breckenridge attorney accused of embezzling more than $500,000 before fleeing the country in 2007, may face additional, though similar charges as more possible victims continue to come forward, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said.
Daniel, 66, was thin and subdued as he was led into the courtroom in shackles for his first court appearance in Colorado Thursday.
He is being held at the Summit County Jail on a $150,000 bond and faces charges of felony theft and commercial bribery.
Daniel has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him, Hurlbert said.
With the nearly five-year-old scandal of Daniel’s disappearance and alleged theft coming to a head, new possible victims are coming forward with accusations against him, and the prosecution is preparing to press more charges, which, Hurlbert said, may include additional counts of the current “placeholder” charges.
At the hearing Thursday, Judge Edward Casias agreed to transfer the case to district court which should “streamline” and “speed up” the pre-trial process, Hurlbert said.
Daniel’s attorney, public defender Reed Owens, asked for a preliminary hearing to determine probable cause. Some evidence and additional information about the case will be presented at that hearing, Hurlbert said.
Daniel’s first appearance in district court is set for Monday.
If convicted on the current charges, Daniel could face more than 13 years in prison and more than $750,000 in fines.
On the lam
After nearly five years on the run, Daniel was apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol Dec. 7 as he tried to enter the country from Mexico.
In an interview with a 9News affiliate in San Diego following his arrest, Daniel claimed to have spent the last several years in Acapulco, Mexico doing translation work. He said he was unaware there was an active warrant out for his arrest in the United States.
Daniel, once a respected attorney and active member of the Breckenridge community, went missing April 27, 2007.
A 9-second dead air phone call to 911 from his cell phone the morning of his disappearance initially led authorities and many in the county to believe he had been kidnapped, but later investigation revealed Daniel was deeply in debt and embezzling money from his clients through complex real estate transactions.
In interviews with the media, Daniel claimed the money he’s accused of stealing is still sitting in a bank account.
Authorities do not know whether there is a chance of recouping the stolen money now that Daniel is in custody, Hurlbert said at a press conference following Thursday’s hearing.