Stockton - District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that yesterday, Alejandro Cesar Martinez, age 46, pled guilty to numerous counts including Burglary, Insurance Fraud, Forgery, and more.
This case, dubbed "Catch Me If You Can" by California Department of Insurance investigators, involved a complex scheme to defraud unsuspecting victims of auto accidents who sought legal representation for their injuries between 2013 - 2016. Martinez, who is not an attorney licensed in the State of California nor any other known state, has a long history of presenting himself as an attorney and preyed primarily on the Spanish speaking community. Martinez used no less than nine different aliases to hide his true identity, adding to the difficulty in locating and prosecuting him for his crimes.
Martinez's most current fraud scheme involved going to people's homes to secure legal representation agreements from injured claimants, then would file auto insurance claims and negotiate settlements on behalf of his clients. Martinez submitted fabricated or inflated medical documentation, forged his client's signatures on settlement agreements, and would then have settlement checks mailed to various addresses, including that of his girlfriend and co-Defendant Gloria Elizabeth Ayala of Oakland, California.
Martinez deposited the settlement checks, in amounts as large as $25,000 into his corporate bank accounts opened by Ayala. Martinez's clients were unaware that the pain and suffering portion of their cases had been settled and paid out, believing that the minimal amount they received from damage to their vehicle was all they were entitled to receive.
Between 2012 and 2016 Martinez was instrumental in creating three corporations under which he operated his schemes throughout the state of California: Lions Legal Group, American Lawyers, and American Injury Law Group. None of these legal corporations employed actual attorneys. Victims were often referred to Martinez by persons who would get a fee for finding and referring people to Martinez.
In 2018, Martinez was apprehended when attempting to re-enter the United States at the U.S./Mexico border with Ayala. Martinez identified himself as Rey Martinez Lespier of Puerto Rico, an identity he not only stole, but used to successfully obtain a California Driver's License and attempted twice, unsuccessfully, to obtain a U.S. Passport. Santa Clara County issued a warrant for the arrest of Rey Lespier, now known as Martinez, for insurance fraud. In November 2018, Martinez was convicted in Santa Clara County under the name of Rey Martinez Lespier and sentenced to approximately nine years in the county jail for insurance fraud and other crimes.
Martinez has multiple criminal convictions under the name of Rey Lespier including a 2007 conviction of Perjury in Riverside County, and four counts of theft by false pretense in Merced County in 2012, where he utilized a Spanish radio station to advertise his services as an immigration attorney with "American Legal Incorporated" in order to take thousands of dollars from desperate families.
Martinez will appear on December 10, 2020 for sentencing. "This is an exemplary example of work done by our Quality of Life Division," said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar. "Thank you to Deputy District Attorney Marjorie Burrise for relentlessly pushing this case forward for justice. Martinez also serves as a reminder for our community: if you are seeking legal assistance, please verify with the California State Bar before hiring an attorney."
Link to 2018 Article on "Rey Martinez Lespier"