Former state worker pleads guilty to fraud

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2003

JUNEAU -- A former state worker accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from the state Department of Education to fund his drug habit pleaded guilty to several charges Friday. Gary Martin, 43, faces up to 16 years in prison.

The trial for the former procurement manager of the state library was set for Monday. Martin faced more than two dozen charges, including three felonies. He pleaded guilty Friday to misconduct involving a controlled substance, scheme to defraud, and official misconduct. The pleas came in Juneau Superior Court as part of a plea agreement.

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

The agreement did not include a sentence recommendation. Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks will hand down the sentence later.

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

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 starting in October of 2000. A state employee auditing the books discovered the scheme.

He also was accused of obtaining the prescription painkillers Vicodin and Oxycodone using false identification.

He was originally charges last fall. He was fired from his job under the state Department of Education and Early Childhood Development after the charges were filed, state officials said.

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