Ex-IRS Agent Gets Prison Time in Murder Plot

A former IRS agent has been sentenced to 23 years and 10 months in federal prison for two crimes—defrauding wealthy clients of $11 million and hiring a hit man to kill four of the clients planning to testify against him, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Steve Martinez, 55, of Ramona, Calif., an IRS agent who became a tax preparer, was indicted in April 2011 on tax fraud charges. He hatched his murder-for-hire plan while out on bail, the newspaper reported. The would-be assassin went to the FBI and captured a meeting on videotape.

At the sentencing hearing April 12, the U.S. Attorney Joseph Orabona said that Martinez “meticulously planned” the murders, Courthouse News reported. “These victims were surveilled. They were watched. Their habits were documented. It’s disturbing,” Orabona said in a statement. ‘This was a cool and calculating individual. He knew how the victims lived. He’s explaining it to the hit man on the video.”

Martinez’ lawyer, David Demergian, told a different story, saying his client came up with the tax fraud to obtain money to help his young son, who was diagnosed with autism. He said the murder-for-hire scheme was “just plain stupid,” a cockeyed idea that had no chance of being carried out, the Union-Tribune reported.

With the stolen $11 million, Martinez bought a beach house in Mexico, rented or leased an airplane, spent $2 million and invested another $2 million, prosecutors said. The judge ordered Martinez to pay restitution to the victims and government agencies totaling $14.9 million.