Thursday, July 16, 2009

Councilman Martinez Pleads Guilty in $100K Fraud

Days after stepping down, councilman admits guilt

Updated 12:02 PM EDT, Thu, Jul 16, 2009

Councilman Miguel Martinez pleaded guilty to fraud this morning in federal court, admitting to lining his pockets with $100,000 in taxpayer funds over a six-year period.

Earlier this week, Martinez became the first casualty of the City Council slush fund shenanigans, resigning from office in a tersely worded letter.

“Dear Speaker Quinn,” Mr. Martinez’s letter began, addressing City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, according to The New York Times City Room blog. “Effective today, July 14, 2009 I am submitting my resignation to the New York City Council.”

Martinez, a Democrat and seven-year veteran of the council, will be sentenced in October. He is the first person charged in the wide-ranging probe by local and federal authorities into whether council members used member items to steer millions of dollars in taxpayer money to specious and closely-connected non-profit groups.

A non-profit run by Martinez's sister was raided in March by the Department of Investigation, the local agency charged with probing the Council's slush fund.

The group was given more than $1 million worth of taxpayer money since 2006, when Martinez's sister Maria joined its board, but the Council revoked its backing in April, the Daily News reported.

Councilman Martinez Pleads Guilty in $100K Fraud NBC New York

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