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Elusive con man back behind bars

Faces extradition after S.C. capture

Martin

In the end, Douglas Martin’s latest con merely gave him a little less than two months of freedom.

Wanted on charges in Allen County that are nearly two years old, the convicted con man was picked up by authorities at his home near the water in Folly Beach, S.C., on Wednesday, according to the Post and Courier newspaper there.

And unlike a previous arrest in November where investigators believe Martin feigned an illness to slip out of the extradition process, he’s expected to be brought back to Indiana at some point.

Here, the former New Mexico resident is facing one count of fraud on a financial institution and four counts of theft stemming from accusations that he tried to defraud a bank with bad checks.

But the 63-year-old’s criminal career goes back further.

In the past, Martin tried to swindle money from a Fort Wayne woman by pretending to be a multidiscipline surgeon, a decorated military veteran and a graduate of the University of London.

All things he’s never been.

He even kept that charade up enough to have a job interview at the local VA Medical Center as proof that he’d move to northeast Indiana to be with the woman, according to court documents.

That ruse – one authorities suspected at the time he used on other women – earned him a conviction in U.S. District Court on charges of making false statements and wire fraud as well as a 12-month prison sentence.

In another case, he was accused by federal prosecutors of using another person’s Social Security number and also depositing bad checks into newly created bank accounts.

He’d withdraw money from those accounts before the checks came back stamped with “Insufficient Funds” according to court documents. That con earned him an eight-month prison sentence.

The latest charges in Allen County have prosecutors accusing him of something similar.

According to court documents, he opened a bank account at First Federal Savings Bank on Christmas Eve in 2010, using a check written out to “Douglas Martin, MD.”

That check was drawn on an account at Higher One bank, the court documents said.

A few days later, Martin presented additional checks for deposit and withdrew cash. All the checks were from the same account, written in the same hand and were all returned – just like his previous scam – to First Federal marked “Insufficient Funds.”

Authorities in South Carolina found Martin in November and arrested him on the outstanding warrant in Allen County.

But Martin seemed to be suffering from an illness and appeared so sickly that local prosecutors were led to believe he was near death, officials later said.

So that the local governments in South Carolina and Allen County would not be responsible for his medical bills, prosecutors locally decided not to pursue what could’ve been a costly extradition.

Allen County prosecutors made it so his warrant required extradition only if he was found in Indiana.

So, with extradition from South Carolina not on the table, Martin was released from police custody there.

Officials soon realized he might have been faking the illness, though, and prosecutors quickly changed his warrant back to requiring his extradition no matter where in the country he was found.

South Carolina police then went to his home Wednesday – which is along the ocean in an area billed by the state as the “Edge of America” – and took him into custody and booked him into jail.

According to the Post and Courier, investigators in South Carolina are examining complaints against Martin, but those cases are ongoing.

It’s unclear when he will be brought back to Indiana, but local prosecutors were assured it would happen – this time.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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