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Press Release

Clark County Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Money from Friend's Estate

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ronald E. Martin, Sr., 65, of Medway, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to crimes related to stealing from the estate of a deceased friend, to the detriment of the intended beneficiary.


Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation announced the plea entered into today before Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.


According to court documents, Martin and Robert L. Mollwitz were close friends for decades during the lifetime of Mollwitz. In September 2010, Mollwitz signed his will and living trust, naming Martin as executor of the will and trustee of the trust. Neither of the documents assigned any money to Martin for his personal use. Rather, money was assigned to be maintained for the support of a different individual.


Mollwitz died in June 2012, and, at that time, his estate was valued at more than $1.7 million. In November 2013, Martin opened a bank account in the name of Robert L. Mollwitz Trust, Ronald E. Martin TTEE.


From approximately February 2014 through May 2017, Martin requested more than $1 million be transferred from the estate to a bank account in his name. During that time, Martin issued approximately 146 checks from the new account, primarily made payable to himself or his inactive business, Total Mobile Home Services. He wrote checks to the business to hide his wrongdoing.


He spent a majority of the funds on personal expenses, including multiple trips to Hollywood Casino in Dayton, Ohio. Martin went to the casino multiple days per week to play slot machines, betting $9 per turn.


Martin also conducted approximately 80 check bill pay or ACH debit transactions at credit card vendors, to pay his personal loans, and to provide money to family members. These transactions totaled more than $200,000.


Bank personnel became concerned with Martin’s financial activity in the trust account and funds were subsequently frozen.


When questioned, Martin lied to bank personnel about how he was using the money. He also made several attempts to release the funds, including telling bank personnel that the victim – the intended recipient of the funds – had provided him with a signed and notarized letter stating she wanted the funds released to Martin. He never provided any letter to the bank.


The victim had never consented to Martin using the funds for his own use, and during the time of the scheme, the victim relied on Social Security Disability benefits as her sole source of income.


Martin pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Each are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. As part of his plea, Martin has agreed to pay more than $890,000 in restitution. This represents the amount of funds he successfully used for his personal benefit.


U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by IRS Criminal Investigation and Assistant United States Attorney Peter Glenn-Applegate, who is representing the United States in this case.


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Updated December 21, 2018

Financial Fraud