SAN DIEGO—Former Internal Revenue Service agent-turned-tax preparer Steven Martinez was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes to almost 24 years in prison for defrauding clients of more than $11 million and then plotting their murders to prevent them from testifying about the theft.
In addition to a 286-month sentence, the judge ordered Martinez to pay more than $14 million in restitution to the victims, the IRS, and the California Franchise Tax Board. Judge Hayes also entered a preliminary order of forfeiture as to certain real and personal property, including an $11 million money judgment. Following Martinez’s service of his sentence, Judge Hayes placed him on five years of supervised release.
By Chris Furguson The City of Brawley upped the ante on their pursuit of a suspected arsonist within the city after another major fire happened in the downtown section of the city after an emergency meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the suspected arsonist has increased from $5,000 to $50,000 after the council voted in closed session. The meeting, part of which took place in closed session, was called after the A Plus Furniture store burned in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Fighitng the fire caused smoke and water damage to two nearby businesses. The April 10 fire was the latest in a series of blazes terrorizing the downtown area of Brawley. At least four downtown Brawley buildings have burned in the past eight months with many other smaller fires being reported and stopped. A three-alarm call was made during the April 10 fire, which involved agencies from as far as Calexico, Niland and the Naval Air Facility – El Centro. The investigation into all the fire activity is still ongoing and anyone with information is urgenty asked to contact Detective Sergeant Kelly Brown at (760)351-7777.