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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Monday, April 13, 2015

Former Real Estate Agent Pleads Guilty In Connection With Investment Fraud Scheme

FRESNO, Calif. — Kenneth Manuel Martin, 66, formerly of Modesto, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud in connection with a Guatemalan real estate investment scheme, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Between a date unknown and August 2008, Martin induced individuals to give him money by saying that he would cause the money to be used to fund mortgage loans to borrowers in Guatemala so borrowers could purchase homes in that country. Among several false representations, Martin represented that his company would provide a real estate attorney in Guatemala who would be able to protect investor funds and would hold a grant deed in favor of the investors secured by Guatemalan real estate. He also represented that his company would provide investors who invested in his Guatemalan real estate venture a high interest rate of return and consistent monthly interest payments. Martin provided investors with conflicting explanations concerning the lack of consistent interest payments and his failure to return the investment principal of investors who requested such a return. As a result of Martin’s conduct, investors lost approximately $258,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the case.

Martin is scheduled to appear before Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on July 21, 2015, for an evidentiary hearing on sentencing issues. The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of wire fraud is 20 years in prison. The actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Docket #: 1:11-cr-219 AWI

Updated April 16, 2015