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Posted on Wed. Dec. 26, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

Repeat con man remains on loose

Jumped bail, later released by mistake

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FORT WAYNE — Nearly two years ago, Allen County prosecutors charged Douglas D. Martin with fraud.

But the convicted con man scampered off while out on bail and the case has sat, unchanged, in the Allen Superior Court files.

In November, though, the 63-year-old Martin was picked up in Charleston County, S.C. Through what appears to be another con – this time on law enforcement – he was released from jail and never extradited to Indiana on the outstanding warrant.

In January 2011, Allen County prosecutors accused Martin of opening a bank account at First Federal Savings Bank on Christmas Eve, using a check written out to “Douglas Martin, MD.” That check was drawn on an account at Higher One bank, according to court documents.

A few days later, Martin presented additional checks for deposit and withdrew cash. All the checks were from the same account and written in the same hand. The checks were all returned to First Federal Bank, marked “Insufficient Funds,” according to court documents.

Other tellers told investigators they too deposited and cashed checks for Martin, who also identified himself as Dean Martin. He was charged with fraud on a financial institution and four counts of theft.

Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander said his office received a call on a Friday in mid-November from the Charleston County jail, saying Martin had been arrested and was being held for extradition to Indiana.

But Martin seemed to be suffering from an illness and was hospitalized. Charleston County officials left the impression Martin was near death, McAlexander said. McAlexander had the warrant removed so that neither Allen County nor Charleston County would be responsible for Martin’s medical costs.

With no current warrant, Charleston County officials released Martin. The following Monday, McAlexander took a longer look at the file and reinstituted the warrant, realizing Martin may have been feigning illness. “This con artist convinced these people in South Carolina,” he said. “We try to be good stewards.”

It was not the former New Mexico resident’s first trouble with the law. Martin has twice been indicted in federal court for a variety of frauds. In one case, he was accused of opening bank accounts at a local credit union just days after he was sentenced on his previous felonies, depositing more than $5,000 in checks from a Capital One account that were later returned because of insufficient funds.

After Martin deposited those checks, he began writing checks on the account, having bills paid from the accounts and withdrawing money. By the time he finished, he had run up a negative balance of about $6,000, according to court documents.

Bank employees tried unsuccessfully to contact Martin about the account. A year ago, he finally faxed the bank a letter promising he would send a check, which never arrived.

In his other case, he created a wildly impressive résumé in an apparent effort to con women he met online. The résumé included claims he was a decorated military veteran, multidisciplinary surgeon and a graduate of the University of London.

Within weeks of meeting a Fort Wayne woman through a dating website, he asked her to marry him. When she told him she couldn’t leave Fort Wayne, he told her he would get a job in northeast Indiana.

He went so far as to obtain an interview at the local VA Medical Center. Doctors at the VA became suspicious, as did the woman, who turned down his plea for her bank account number.

In December 2007, Martin was arrested at Fort Wayne International Airport, arriving for what he believed was a second job interview. He pleaded guilty in that case.

He also has prior fraud convictions in New Mexico, and was released from supervised probation months before he showed up in Fort Wayne, according to New Mexico court records.

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Major Jim Brady said his office released Martin after Allen County officials gave them the go-ahead.

He said he will check with Allen County officials again to see whether they want him arrested again.

“If Allen County wants him, then we will go pick him up,” Brady said.

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