Convicted con man living at Folly Beach
A convicted con man wanted on fraud charges in Indiana has been hiding in plain sight on Folly Beach, even calling police to his home after a recent break-in, authorities said.
Douglas Martin, 63, was charged in Indiana's Allen County with four counts of fraud on a financial institution after he allegedly wrote several bad checks through an account with First Federal Bank, affidavits say.
Martin was released on $22,500 bail in January 2011. He then fled to the Charleston area before he could be prosecuted, Indiana authorities said.
Folly Beach police arrested Martin on Nov. 7, and he was held at the Charleston County jail to be extradited to Indiana, Charleston County Sheriff's Office Maj. Jim Brady said.
Before that could happen, Martin was taken to an area hospital for medical complaints on Nov. 11. He was returned to the jail that evening, Brady said.
On Nov. 16, Allen County officials hired an outside agency to extradite Martin, but it determined that he wasn't fit for travel. The warrant was dropped by Allen County prosecutors shortly after, Brady said.
Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander told The (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Journal Gazette that his office was under the impression that Martin was near death. McAlexander had the warrant removed so that neither Allen County nor Charleston County would be responsible for Martin's medical costs, the newspaper reported.
The decision left Martin free to remain in Charleston County, Brady said.
Brady said Charleston County has attempted to contact Allen County regarding the matter.
“If we receive information back from Allen County requesting Martin be located and detained, and that they will extradite, then we will attempt to locate him and hold him for Allen County,” Brady said.
McAlexander told The Journal Gazette that he already has reinstituted the warrant, realizing that Martin may have been feigning illness.
Martin could not be reached for comment this week, and he did not return a phone call from The Post and Courier.
Brady said he has received calls from Indiana reporters questioning whether Martin was actually ill, or whether he managed to con law enforcement. Brady said he doesn't know the answer to that question.
If so, this wouldn't be the first time Martin was accused of conning people.
Martin reportedly pretended to be a doctor while charming a New Mexico woman he had met online out of $60,000, according to an affidavit filed by Special Agent Joseph Cossairt of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.
The woman told Albuquerque police that Martin convinced her to place the money into his bank account, where he said it would receive a higher interest rate, the affidavit said.
A few weeks later, the woman told police, she noticed the account's balance to be near $0.
Another woman in Indiana reported similar woes after being romanced by Martin, the affidavit states. The Indiana woman told police Martin asked to marry her two weeks after they began dating online.
Martin claimed to be a trauma surgeon at the University of New Mexico hospital and a captain in the Navy Reserve, Cossairt stated in his affidavit. Martin sent the woman photos of an alleged medical license with pictures of himself in medical and military garb, the affidavit said.
Martin asked the woman to move with him to South Carolina, but she refused because of work obligations, authorities said. Then, she told police, Martin agreed to move to Fort Wayne.
Martin created a resume and curriculum vitae, and applied for a position at a VA Medical Center in Fort Wayne in October 2007. He claimed to be a 16-times decorated Vietnam veteran, a military helicopter pilot and a multi-faceted surgeon, the affidavit stated.
The doctors marveled at his credentials, and set a January start date, Cossairt said.
However, they became suspicious while attempting to confirm the details Martin claimed on paper.
It turned out Martin was not a doctor, according to court documents. He also has never served in the military, The Journal Gazette reported.
The doctors notified police after uncovering the alleged fraud.
The woman loaned Martin $700, which she never received payment for, Cossairt stated.
Martin was indicted in federal court on charges of wire fraud and making false statements, but the case was apparently closed before it went to trial, according to court records. He previously was convicted of bank fraud in a separate federal case in 2010 stemming from allegations that he used a bogus Social Security number to write several bad checks, court records show.
Folly Beach police visited Martin's home Sunday on East Erie Avenue after reports of a burglary.
Martin told police a man named Leroy Anderson, 52, of West Beach Court, forced entry into his home and threatened to kill him.
Anderson was located nearby and arrested on charges of first-degree burglary and assault and battery, an incident report states.
Folly Beach Police Chief Dennis Brown said officers had reason to believe Martin's version of events, despite his history.
Brown did not specify what those reasons were, but said he was confident the appropriate action was taken.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.