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Man pleads guilty to hiring hit man

Aug. 11, 2012 at 2:48 PM

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A 51-year-old California man pleaded guilty to attempting to hiring a hit man to kill four witnesses in a fraud case against him, federal prosecutors said.

Steven Martinez, a tax preparer and former Internal Revenue Service agent, pleaded guilty in San Diego Friday to witness tampering, murder-for-hire, solicitation of violence for trying to hire a hit man, as well as mail fraud, filing false tax returns, Social Security fraud, identity theft and money laundering in the fraud case against him, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Prosecutors said Martinez offered to pay the would-be killer $100,000 "if he eliminated the lady in Rancho Santa Fe and the lady in La Jolla." The four targets were former clients of Martinez's.

The man Martinez attempted to hire alerted police of the offer and the FBI recorded and videotaped his next meeting with Martinez.

Martinez was initially accused of using client money to buy real estate, make $2 million in investments and pay more than $2 million on loans and credit cards.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 30.

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