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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 9, 2018

Former Alarm Monitoring Company Worker Admits to Stealing from Company

HOUSTON – A 47-year-old Rosharon woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. 

Sonja Martinez admitted she and her co-conspirators electronically submitted falsified vendor requests for payment to divert money to themselves from their former employer’s bank account.

Martinez worked at the Houston branch of a Florida-based security company that installed, tested and monitored fire and security systems. The Florida company had acquired the Houston branch from another company and she had worked at the predecessor company. 

The company used third party vendors to install its alarm systems. Martinez worked in the Accounting Department and was responsible for paying the vendors and noting in the company’s accounting system. From November 2011 until May 2016, Martinez and others participated in a scheme to divert approximately $1,661,163 to themselves and their family members. 

A computer in Texas was used to submit fraudulent vendor requests for payment to their employer’s out-of-state bank. Martinez and others then utilized an electronic bank token to release funds and transfer money from their employer’s account to their own bank accounts and the bank accounts of their relatives. 

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison accepted the plea today and set sentencing for April 26, 2018, at which time Martinez faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. At the hearing today, the court also entered a money judgment against Martinez for $739,450.36.

She was permitted to remain on bond pending her sentencing.

The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Belinda Beek is prosecuting the case. 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated February 9, 2018