Amy Beddows 5:26 p.m., June 18
Did This Guy Prepare YOUR Taxes?
Steven Martinez of Ramona, a tax preparer and former agent with the Internal Revenue Service, pleaded guilty today (Aug. 10) in federal court to charges of murder-for-hire, witness tampering that involved attempted murder, mail fraud, filing false tax returns, Social Security fraud, identity theft and money laundering. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, in February Martinez solicited an individual to bump off four former clients, victims of his fraud, who were slated to testify against him in a criminal tax case. The individual went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and reported the murder-for-hire solicitation. Then a meeting between Martinez and the individual was recorded and videotaped. Martinez offered $100,000 if the individual knocked off women of Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Martinez even suggested how the murders should be pulled off -- with two different pistols with silencers. Martinez admitted that he filed false tax returns and defrauded his clients by stealing more than $11 million in tax payments. A sentencing hearing will be before U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes Nov. 30.