Ex-state worker pleads guilty to fraud, drug charges

Martin faces up to 16 years in prison

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2003

A former state worker accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from the state Department of Education to fund his drug habit pleaded guilty to lesser charges today.

Trial in the case against Gary Martin, 43, former procurement manager for the state library, was set for Monday. But Martin, who had three felony cases pending against him, pleaded guilty to one count each of fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, scheme to defraud, and official misconduct at a hearing today in Juneau Superior Court.

The state dropped a number of felony charges as part of a plea agreement between District Attorney Rick Svobodny and defense attorney Louis Menendez. The state also agreed to not press any new charges stemming from the incidents.

"I think the counts he pled guilty to are a representative sample of what he was accused of doing," Svobodny said. "A lot of factors go into a plea agreement. A huge one is that you are guaranteed a verdict of guilty."

Dismissed charges include another count of misconduct involving a controlled substance, two counts each of third-degree misconduct involving weapons, scheme to defraud, official misconduct, and three counts each of first-degree theft and first-degree tampering with a public record, and 14 counts of second-degree forgery.

The agreement did not include a sentence recommendation. Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks will determine the sentence at a later hearing, when he also will establish restitution.

Martin faces up to 10 years in prison for the fraud charge, up to five years for the drug charge, and up to one year in prison for misconduct.

Late last year Martin was accused of creating fake companies, generating work orders for those companies, billing the state for work never done and pocketing the money.

According to court records, Martin embezzled nearly $300,000 in state funds since 2001. He also was accused of obtaining prescriptions for Vicodin, a powerful and potentially addictive painkiller, by using a false birth date and Social Security number at a local health clinic.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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