Pleasant Hill man gets federal prison for ‘indiscriminate’ fraud schemes; victims included rapper Fat Joe, prosecutors say

OAKLAND — A Pleasant Hill man whose numerous victims of attempted bank fraud ranged from world-famous rapper Fat Joe to a Fairfield man selling a car on Craigslist has been sentenced to six years and nine months in federal prison, court records show.

Gilbert Scott Martinez, 41, was sentenced last week by U.S. Judge Jeffrey White, who spit the consecutive sentences between Martinez’s current bank fraud case and a supervised release violation for a previous similar prosecution. Martinez pleaded guilty to bank fraud for passing a bad check to obtain a woman’s Mercedes Benz, which he later traded for a Range Rover at a Fairfield car dealership, prosecutors said.

But most of his fraud schemes were unsuccessful; prosecutors say he attempted more than $250,000 worth of bank fraud, including writing up a $56,000 bad check to book a private show in Los Angeles from rapper Fat Joe. The rapper’s agent received notice from a bank that the check was no good and the ploy never came to fruition, according to court records.

In a sentencing memo asking for 90 months in federal prison, federal prosecutors attributed the crimes to Martinez’s “hollow attempts at building self-esteem” and said he wanted to “use his ill-gotten gains to impress people with his seemingly extravagant lifestyle.”

“The scheme was hardly sophisticated: Mr. Martinez simply input the bank account and routing number of another person or company into the check-writing program, and then he generated and printed checks drawn against that account,” assistant U.S. Attorney Michale Rodriguez wrote in court filings. “He was indiscriminate about his victims, and Mr. Martinez’s actions suggest that he was perfectly comfortable defrauding anyone with a bank account number, whether it was Fat Joe, M-B Financial, or a small business owner in New York.”

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Martinez’s attorney, John Paul Reichmuth, argued for a reduced total sentence of 70 months. He drew a link between Martinez’s harsh upbringing — he and his mother lived out of motels in Solano County and she nearly died after being bitten by a poisonous spider when he was a child — and the fraud attempts, which he said were so obvious they stood little chance to succeed.

“(Martinez) seems to have developed a pathological need to impress others with appearances of wealth,” Reichmuth wrote in court filings. “He makes very little attempt to either spend the money he gains or hide his offenses, desiring only to be seen in limousines or expensive cars or, for example, posing on Instagram with Oakland Raiders Skybox executives to make people think that he is a season ticket holder. Most of these offenses are doomed to failure, because they are so easily detected; it almost appears as if it is Mr. Martinez’s intention to get caught.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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