Convicted con man claims allegations “all in the past”
Moments before police swarmed the Folly Beach home of a convicted con man on Wednesday, he provided a jumbled narrative to a reporter spanning his supposed medical studies in London, alleged threats against his life and his struggles with erectile dysfunction.
Douglas Martin, 63, was running from fraud charges in Indiana when he was taken into custody at his home at 215 E. Erie Ave.
He had been living at the residence only a few days, according to neighbors, and moved there after his former landlord kicked him out of another home a few doors down.
While at the home Wednesday morning, Martin did not welcome questions about allegations that he impersonated a surgeon, a helicopter pilot and a decorated Vietnam veteran.
Martin, who was convicted of bank fraud in 2010, also would not discuss the fraud charges facing him in Indiana, or allegations that he has conned people out of thousands of dollars.
“It's all in the past now,” Martin said before shutting his front door and retreating inside.
The accusations aren't all in the past, however.
Folly Beach Public Safety Director Dennis Brown said Wednesday that his detectives are investigating several local complaints against Martin. He declined to provide details.
A Folly Beach woman told The Post and Courier that one of the complaints police are investigating involves $2,000 in bad checks Martin allegedly wrote to her in September. The woman said the checks were meant to pay her back after she invested in a medical practice he planned to open on Folly Beach.
She spoke only on the condition of anonymity because she said she is fearful of Martin.
Hours after refusing to be interviewed Wednesday, Martin reached out to the newspaper in a phone call that he said was fueled by a need to explain and defend his actions.
“I didn't mean to be rude this morning, but I wanted to make sure what I say is OK with my attorney,” Martin said.
Martin said he could not recall his attorney's full name. Court records do not indicate that he has legal representation.
Martin insisted that he is a doctor who studied in London, though court records say he has no medical license.
'I'm so gullible'
When asked about the woman who claimed to have been cheated by him, Martin said he first met her through an ad he posted on Craigslist, and that she offered services to him as a psychiatrist and a sex therapist.
Martin said a whirlwind romance soon followed, after the woman offered to have sex with him as treatment for his issues with erectile dysfunction.
Martin agreed that the woman invested in a business venture he had planned. But he disputed claims that he still owed her money, saying she lied to pass blame for a host of her own personal issues.
The woman disputed his story. She said Martin had been spreading lies about her for months, after their friendship turned sour.
“I'm so gullible and I trust people too much, obviously,” the woman said. “He has a lot of medical knowledge that a person wouldn't normally have.”
The woman said when she first met Martin he claimed to have three HIV clinics in Africa, and that he had worked there for at least six years.
She said she grew suspicious after he wrote her about four checks meant to reimburse her for investing in his local endeavors. Those checks turned out to be worthless, she said.
She said she attempted to report the situation to Folly Beach police, but the agency was slow to take any action. “I think they were waiting for him to be extradited back to Indiana so they wouldn't have to do anything,” the woman said.
Brown, the public safety director, did not return calls for comment Thursday. The previous day, he said his detectives have been working diligently on the complaints against Martin, in addition to trying to resolve his pending extradition to Indiana to face charges there.
Folly Beach police first arrested Martin on Nov. 7, and he was held at the Charleston County jail to be extradited to Allen County, Ind., to face four counts of fraud on a financial institution.
During his jail stay he claimed to be ill, and Indiana authorities decided to remove the warrant rather than risk them or Charleston County being stuck paying his medical bills, Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander told The (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Journal Gazette.
Martin quickly recovered, and was released from jail because there was no longer a warrant to hold him, authorities said.
Indiana prosecutors later moved to reinstate the warrant, but Martin already was free and back living on Folly Beach, authorities said.
Police visited Martin's home Sunday, not to arrest him, but to investigate his claims that a man named Skip 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.
The woman who claims Martin wrote her the bad checks said she is in a relationship with Anderson, and that Martin lied to police to add fuel to an ongoing feud between him and the couple.
“Despite everything this man has done to me, I'm more upset that Skip Anderson is sitting in jail on a $100,000 bond based on the word of this man, who is proven to be a con man,” the woman said. “Of all people, why would you choose to believe the con man? That's the injustice here.”
On Monday 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.
Martin's former landlord and neighbor Robert Mead said he knew Martin could not be trusted.
“He would lie about one thing and then change his story,” Mead said. “It's like he can't help himself.”
Mead said he made sure Martin paid in cash for the two months he lived with him, but he knows others on the island who claim that Martin wrote them bad checks.
“Why this guy's still walking the street, I don't know,” Mead said Wednesday.
Folly Beach police arrested Martin a few hours later. He is being held at the Charleston County jail to be extradited back to Indiana.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.