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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 4, 2016

Craigslist Robbery Crew Member Convicted On Multiple Counts

Robbery Scheme Targeted Victims Selling Diamonds and Rolex Watches Nationwide

OAKLAND – Michael Anthony Martin was convicted by a federal jury today of conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce and robbery affecting interstate commerce announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.  The jury found that Martin robbed victims on four separate occasions and conspired to rob victims selling jewelry on Craigslist.org. 

The guilty verdict followed a jury trial before the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Judge.  Evidence at trial showed that Martin, 42, of Tracy, was part of a robbery crew that targeted individuals selling high-end jewelry, such as diamonds and Rolex watches, on Craigslist.  The robbery crew targeted victims located nationwide and was responsible for numerous robberies and attempted robberies between November 2012 and December 2013. 

Crew members frequently posed as music producers or pretended to be in the market for diamond engagement rings when they contacted their intended victims.  In each case, a crew member contacted their victims by e-mail or cell phone and negotiated a price to purchase the jewelry item.  The conspirators then lured their victims to the Bay Area, sometimes by paying for the victim’s airplane ticket or promising to reimburse the victim for travel.  Often, a robbery crew member posed as an airport limousine driver and picked up the victim at the airport using a rented SUV.  The victims, believing they were going to meet the buyer at a jewelry store or bank to complete the sale, were instead delivered to a different, predetermined location where two or more additional crew members robbed them.  Crew members used guns and physical violence to rob their victims of jewelry items and other personal property.  It is estimated the robbery crew stole more than $500,000 worth of jewelry from victims traveling from more than six states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Martin was indicted by a grand jury on April 10, 2014.  He was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and four counts of interference with interstate commerce by robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 18 U.S.C. 1952(a) and 2.   

Martin is currently in federal custody.  His sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 19, 2016, before Judge White in Oakland.  The maximum statutory penalty for each of the five counts for which Martin was found guilty is 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.  Additional fines, restitution and periods of supervised release also may be imposed. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brigid S. Martin and Claudia A. Quiroz are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Melissa Dorton, Katie Turner, and Patty Lau.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (San Francisco Division, assisted by Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Mobile, Alabama Divisions); U.S. Bureau of Prisons; Fremont Police Department; California Department of Corrections; El Cerrito Police Department; Richmond Police Department; San Francisco Police Department; Alameda County Sheriff’s Office; Oakland Police Department; Berkeley Police Department; Danville Police Department; Concord Police Department; Livermore Police Department; Manteca Police Department; Tracy Police Department; Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office; Hayward Police Department; Burlingame Police Department; San Leandro Police Department; Berkeley, Missouri Police Department; Olivette, Missouri Police Department; and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NICRIC).

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Updated April 19, 2017