Federal Agent Indicted in Conspiracy to Commit Extortion, Bribery and Making False Statements
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, David Nieland, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Miami Field Office, and David D’Amato, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility, announce the indictment of Juan Felipe Martinez, a Special Agent with DHS, 47, of Coral Gables. The indictment charges Martinez with eight counts of extortion, two counts of bribery, and two counts of making false statements.
One of the extortion counts charges that Martinez and others conspired to extort money and unlawfully enrich themselves by using Martinez’s official position to obtain large payments from a Colombian company and certain individuals associated with it. Martinez and others conspired to falsely state that the company and certain individuals associated with it were going to be put on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list by Office of Foreign Asset Control and then offering to keep them off the SDN list if they made large payments to co-conspirators. Two of the bribery counts allege that Martinez accepted thousands of dollars in exchange for United States significant public benefit paroles.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Today’s arrest is a reminder that no one is above the law. You can’t sell your badge and abuse your power and expect to get away with it. And while Martinez’s alleged conduct tarnishes his badge, it does not tarnish those of the honorable men and women who serve and protect our community faithfully every day.”
David Nieland, Special Agent in Charge for DHS-OIG added, “Whenever a law enforcement officer engages in illegal activity, it erodes the public trust. Such actions by a few undermine the hard work of the many who serve to protect America each day. Corruption remains a top priority of the DHS OIG and we remain committed to holding those who violate the public’s trust accountable for their illegal actions.”
Martinez had his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge William C. Turnoff. The Court set bond at $250,000, with a Nebbia condition. Report regarding counsel and arraignment was set for January 21, 2014 before the duty Magistrate Judge.
If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum of twenty years in prison on each extortion count, fifteen years in prison on each bribery count, and five years in prison on each false statements count and a $250,000 fine.
An indictment is only an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.