FROM:
Stephen Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
Joseph P. Reader, Deputy District Attorney
Real Estate Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2689 For release on February 8, 2005   SUSPECT IN MEXICAN REAL ESTATE SCAM BOUND OVER FOR TRIAL WITH INCREASED CHARGES   Martin Duane Smith, age 35, was bound over for trial after a Superior Court judge found sufficient evidence today to believe that Smith committed four felony counts of grand theft. The court also found that Smith stole in excess of $500,000 and made a finding that Smith committed crimes which could result in additional prison time under an “Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement”. The defendant will be appearing for arraignment in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Tuesday, February 22, 2005, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 24 where he will enter a plea to new allegations.   The charges resulted from Smith taking money from individuals investing in real estate located in Mexico. Smith, acting as their agent, misrepresented the value of the real estate to the unsuspecting victims, failed to disclose relevant information to the investors and made other misrepresentations regarding the transactions. Investigative reports indicate that Smith told the sellers in one instance that he was selling property for $230,000 when he was actually selling it for $310,000. The buyers of the property learned after the sale that the suspect inflated the value and pocketed the difference. Smith is believed to have defrauded sellers and buyers of at least five different properties in this manner.    Smith now faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted, although the original charges would have only subjected him to 5 years and 8 months in prison if convicted. The District Attorney’s Office continues to suspect there may be other victims of Smith’s actions who may not currently be aware they have been victimized. Anyone who has information about any fraud perpetrated by Smith or has information as to Martin Smith’s assets or income is asked to contact District Attorney Investigator Robert Traskowski at
(408) 792-2938.  

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