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— When word leaked out two weeks ago that ex-Charger Tony Martin was under investigation for money laundering on behalf of a Miami-area friend, it wasn't the first time that the Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver's financial dealings garnered headlines. Last year the Union-Tribune revealed that Martin had borrowed $300,000 from Rick Norton, an El Cajon-based financial planner the paper said was then under investigation by the State Attorney General's office for the way he had handled the $700,000 estate of a dead East County recluse. Martin's loan was reported to have been funded from part of the estate's money, which had been placed in a charitable trust run by Norton ... A disbarred lawyer from San Diego has turned up at the center of a North Carolina financial scandal. According to reports in the Raleigh News and Observer, 50-year-old Robin Dean is being sought by the Wake County sheriff after failing to show up for sentencing on charges he embezzled more than $100,000 from residential real estate escrows he handled. The paper says Dean has also been accused of practicing law without a license and embezzling money from other accounts he managed. "There may be other victims out there who don't know they're victims now until the whole house of cards comes down," Wake County district attorney Colin Willoughby told the paper, adding that before the scandal, Dean had been well on the way to becoming a pillar of the community. "The personality of a successful con man is usually that of being a great salesman. People like them, and that's why they trust them and give them their money."

Where credit is due

CREDCO, a national credit-reporting outfit based in Poway, has agreed to settle charges that it broke the provisions of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. According to an account in the Tampa Tribune, CREDCO was accused of failing to check out complaints of bad data in consumer credit reports and failing to take action to fix the misinformation. Though the company issued a statement that it "vigorously denies" the allegations, last week it agreed to sign a consent order with the Federal Trade Commission ... A big-name Sacramento obstetrician was indicted last week for allegedly conspiring with Rancho Santa Fe investment advisor Stephen Oles to lure unwary investors into a phony investment scheme. An attorney for Dr. Roger D. Matthews denied his client's guilt, saying, "He's a victim, not a perpetrator" and "a brilliant doctor, a decent guy, but a horrible businessman." Oles is already under indictment for allegedly selling phony offshore securities.

Flame out

The San Diego cop who became police chief of West Sacramento a few years back is having a few problems with the locals. Last week, persons unknown set fire to the car of Larry Gore as it sat in the driveway of his home. "As the chief of police, you can represent a lot of things to a lot of people, but I've received no recent threats and have been involved in no recent conflicts," Gore told the Sacramento Bee ... Downtown's First National Bank Building, built by high-rolling hotel developer Doug Manchester, who later gave it back to the lender that financed it, is for sale once again. Southwest Value Partners of Scottsdale, Arizona, which bought the 27-story mirror-glass monument from Equitable Life in 1996 for $67.6 million, hopes to get $95 million, according to Real Estate Alert. The building is said to be 86 percent occupied ... The San Diego City Council's scheme to put treated sewage into the local drinking water has been getting some tough hits recently, but a similar plan is alive and well in McAllen, Texas. City fathers there are seeking federal grants to build a recycling plant to provide as much as 30 percent of the city's drinking water supply. San Diegan Paul Gagliardo, who developed the toilet-to-tap plan here, has told McAllen it would cost upwards of $25 million ... The influential father of ex-mayoral aide Ben Dillingham has died in Northern California. Benjamin Franklin Dillingham II was known as "Mr. Republican" of Hawaii for his political activities on behalf of the family's powerful Dillingham Co. and once ran for U.S. Senate against Democrat Daniel Inouye. He was 82.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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