A local tax preparer is accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill two San Diegans. Steven Martinez, 51, was arrested by FBI agents outside his office in Sorrento Valley on Friday.
Agents say an individual came forward on Tuesday claiming Martinez was to pay a hitman $100,000 to kill two key witnesses who are testifying against him in Federal court.
Early last year, Martinez, a former IRS agent was indicted on 49 criminal counts including mail fraud and money laundering. Martinez stole $11 million in tax payments that should have been turned over to the IRS, according to the indictment.
Martinez would allegedly tell his clients they owed a significant amount of tax and then persuade his clients to write the check payable to a client trust account instead of the IRS or California Franchise Tax Board, investigators said. Martinez would then allegedly deposit the check into several different bank accounts.
Martinez used the funds to pay for a multi-million dollar home in Ramona, an airplane, a boat, a motor home, trips to the Super Bowl and vacations in Mexico, investigators said.
Agents say Martinez provided an unidentified individual with color photos of the witnesses he wanted dead, and allegedly suggested that the hitman use a gun equipped with a silencer.
Martinez is in Federal jail awaiting his arraignment on Monday for the murder for hire allegations. Right now, he is being charged with witness tampering, but more charges could be added.
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