Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Tax Pro and Former IRS Agent Pleads Guilty to Hiring

August 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

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At the end of the day it’s understandable to complain to friends and family about a particularly difficult client and we all deal with frustrating people.  But most of us have the good sense not to hire someone to kill them. Not so Steven Martinez.

Martinez, a former IRS agent turned private tax preparer, was arrested in March of this year in Sorrento Valley, California, and accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill witnesses – some of them allegedly former clients – in a case against him. Last year, Martinez was indicted on 49 criminal counts including mail fraud and money laundering.

Originally, Martinez pleaded not guilty to charges stemmed from allegations that Martinez stole $11 million from his clients by lying about the amounts they owed to tax authorities. Martinez told his clients that they owed more than they did – and convinced them to write checks to his trust account to pay their liabilities, which he promised to take care of. He pocketed the rest, which worked out to be a lot of cash.

So what did Martinez do with the cash? He bought a beach house, vacationed in Mexico, used a private aircraft to jet around, went to the Super Bowl, paid off debts and made some investments. Oh, and he also used it to pay a hit man to kill witnesses while waiting for his trial.

The hit man, a former employee, said that Martinez provided photos of the witnesses to be killed and the promise of cash to a hit man: $40,000 down and the balance of $60,000 after the job was completed. Some of that cash (just over $42,500) was found in a cereal box in the alleged hit man’s home.

The saga finally came to an end last week. Martinez pleaded guilty to a number of felonies including solicitation of a violent crime, interstate commerce in murder for hire, witness tampering and mail fraud. His sentencing is set for November 30, 2012. Martinez could face up to 100 years in prison.

JDKatz, P.C. is a full-service law firm focused on tax law and estate planning. We are dedicated to minimizing your existing liability and risks while providing valuable tax planning to streamline your tax issues in the future. Please call us at 301-913-2948 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our trusted attorneys.

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