Saturday, May 15, 2021

Former town IT director arrested for embezzlement, now on the run after cutting ankle monitor


A former employee of the Town of Vail who has been charged with child prostitution and assault of a police officer, in addition to embezzling half a millions dollars from the town, removed his GPS ankle monitor Friday, according to police. He was last seen on surveillance video getting picked up by an unidentified driver in a parking lot.

The Vail Police Department asked for the public’s help in locating 55-year-old Ronald James Braden in a press release Saturday.

Braden is not believed to be a threat to the general public, but he has made threats to toward Vail PD officers and law enforcement in general, it stated. The department asked citizens to report sightings or contact with Braden, but also advised them to exercise caution in his presence.

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Braden’s GPS ankle monitor reported a tamper alert to authorities at 12:45 p.m. Friday before it stopped working altogether, Vail PD stated. Braden’s two vehicles were then discovered at separate locations in Edward and Avon.

It was in the surveillance camera of the Walmart in Avon that Braden was later seen getting into a late model silver Toyota 4Runner with factory roof racks and stickers on the back window.

Braden was out on bond since Aug. 27. He had been arrested July 4. Vail officers caught up with him in Minturn that morning and tried to take him into custody because of outstanding warrants. Braden, VPD stated, fought back and tried to return to his vehicle, injuring two of the three officers while attempting to disarm one of them. An AR-15 was later found in his vehicle.

One of those warrants was issued after an 18-month-long investigation by Vail PD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It accused Braden of stealing more than a half a million dollars from the town over the course of six years (2012-18) using an elaborate accounting scheme.

Braden is the former director of Vail’s Information Technology department. He resigned in November 2018 following his arrest for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

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The accounting scheme, Vail PD stated, was exposed during his absence due the child prostitution arrest.

An accomplice in the alleged defrauding of Vail’s coffers, Eric E. Nastri, also 55, was arrested July 6th in Denver. He pleaded guilty in September to money laundering and was scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Braden was scheduled to be in court in Dec. 3rd. He is now legally considered a fugitive.


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