An Arapahoe County con-artist who absconded just before his jury trial will spend more than 30 years in prison for bilking a business owner and multiple building contractors out of more than $500,000.

Larry McGee, 61, had lived for two years in a home without paying rent and had failed to pay multiple contractors who had performed upgrades and enhancements to the property at McGee’s request, the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. He was convicted in absentia in September by a jury on 21 charges related to the scheme.

After McGee’s arrest, he was released on bond and a GPS ankle-monitor was placed on him to track his whereabouts. McGee cut off his ankle monitor and fled from authorities during the September jury trial.

The trial continued in absentia. Prosecutors presented evidence that showed McGee had signed contracts and then had written bad checks to the landlord and contractors. He impersonated a local attorney, drafted forged letters under the attorney’s name and gave the landlord forged deposit slips and wire transfer records to keep the scheme going, the district attorney’s office said.

He was convicted of 21 charges, including two counts of felony theft, four counts of identity theft, forgery and fraud by check, the news release said.

Authorities captured McGee on Oct. 11 in Boulder.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve Fauver requested a long prison sentence, saying his fraud caused extreme financial and emotional harm.

“Here, stealing this much money warranted incarceration. But there’s more,” Fauver was quoted as saying. “McGee cowardly ran from the jury trial he picked. To paraphrase Chris Rock: If you make the justice system chase after you, it’s bringing a whole bunch of incarceration with it.”

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