DENVER, CO (CBS4)- District Attorney Beth McCann announced Thursday that charges have been filed against a former Colorado Department of Transportation employee who is alleged to have stolen over $700,000 from the state between 2011 and 2020.

Aaron Ceja

(credit: Denver DA)

48-year-old Aaron Victor Ceja has been charged with two counts of theft, one count of money laundering and one count of embezzlement of public property. The prosecutors allege that Ceja made unauthorized purchases of gift cards, camping gear, video equipment and other items using his state procurement card (“P-Card”). Ceja is also alleged to have submitted fake invoices to CDOT from All Around Technologies, a company set up in a family members name which was found to be operated and controlled by Ceja.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was called in by the executive director of CDOT in August of last year for investigative assistance into potential theft and misuse of a P-Card. The investigation led to Ceja’s arrest earlier this week — on Tuesday. The Denver District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case with its Economic Crimes Unit because the alleged crimes occurred in the city and county of Denver.

Ceja’s court date has not been set as of publication.

CDOT released this statement to CBS4: We are grateful to the Denver District Attorney’s office for pursuing the arrest of a former CDOT employee who is charged with stealing resources from CDOT’s maintenance division and Colorado taxpayers. 

CDOT’s internal audit division conducted a review of potential misuse of funds a year ago, which led the agency to request the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to investigate this case. We are grateful for their diligence, as well as the Denver District Attorney’s office filing criminal charges against the former CDOT employee. 

CDOT takes this very seriously and has zero tolerance regarding any misuse of public funds. Because this is now an open and filed criminal case, we are unable to comment further on this matter.

Over the past few years, CDOT has taken increasingly stringent measures to protect against fraudulent use of state purchasing cards, which include significantly limiting the number of employees with access to purchasing cards and adding a broad range of manual and automated internal controls to further protect these critical assets. 

We appreciate the Denver DA pursuing this case fully and believe that doing so will contribute to ongoing improvements in government performance that strengthen accountability for public resources.