Robbery Scheme Targeted Victims Selling Diamonds and Rolex Watches Nationwide
OAKLAND – Michael Anthony Martin, 42, of Tracy, Calif., was sentenced today to 370 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce and robbery affecting interstate commerce announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The sentence follows Martin’s conviction of multiple counts of robbery on February 4, 2016, after a three-week jury trial before the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Judge.
Martin was one of five defendants indicted by a federal grand jury on April 10, 2014, in connection with robberies that targeted individuals selling high-end jewelry, such as diamonds and Rolex watches, on Craigslist. Additional defendants were indicted in other related cases. The evidence at trial demonstrated that between November 2012 and December 2013, the defendants were part of a crew that targeted victims nationwide whom they identified on Craigslist. The crew members contacted the targeted victims via e-mail or cellular telephone and negotiated to purportedly purchase the jewelry item.
The robbers frequently posed as music producers or pretended to be in the market for diamond engagement rings. The crew members then induced the victims to travel to the Bay Area to sell the jewelry item by offering to pay for the victim’s airplane ticket or promising to reimburse the victim for travel.
Often a robbery crew member posed as an airport limousine driver and picked up the victim at the airport using a rental SUV. The victim believed he or she was going to meet the buyer at a jewelry store or bank to complete the sale. Instead, the driver took the victims to a different, predetermined location where two or more additional robbers, using guns and physical violence, robbed the victims of the jewelry items and other personal property.
The evidence at trial showed the robbery crew is estimated to have been responsible for stealing more than $500,000 worth of jewelry from victims traveling from more than six states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. For his role in the robberies, Martin was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, and four counts of substantive robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) and 2. Pursuant to the jury’s February 4, 2016, verdict, Martin was found guilty of all counts.
In calculating Martin’s prison term, Judge White imposed a sentence based in part on the finding that the defendant committed perjury while testifying during his trial. The perjury finding resulted in an obstruction enhancement and a higher sentence. Further, in addition to the prison term, Judge White ordered Martin to serve a three-year period of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $191,863.93.
Martin is in federal custody and will begin serving his sentence immediately.
Other crew members that have been sentenced include the following:
|AGE||NUMBER OF ROBBERIES/ ATTEMPTED ROBBERIES ADMITTED||SENTENCING DATE||SENTENCE|
|Rafael Lamont Davis/|
CR 14-00093 JSW
|19||1||October 14, 2014||41 months|
|Jaedon Eric Evans/|
CR 14-00093 JSW
|19||1||December 2, 2014||46 months|
|Keegan Leecodi Cotton/|
CR 14-00093 JSW
|20||5||June 2, 2015||70 months|
|Clarence Lee Andrews/|
CR 14-00094 YGR
|38||5||December 18, 2014||210 months|
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brigid S. Martin and Claudia A. Quiroz are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Melissa Dorton, Katie Turner, Patty Lau, Yvette Baird, Maria Sunga, and Maureen French. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (San Francisco Division, assisted by Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Mobile, Alabama Divisions),
- U.S. Bureau of Prisons
- Fremont Police Department
- California Department of Corrections
- El Cerrito Police Department
- Richmond Police Department
- San Francisco Police Department
- Alameda County Sheriff’s Office
- Oakland Police Department
- Berkeley Police Department
- Danville Police Department
- Concord Police Department
- Livermore Police Department
- Manteca Police Department
- Tracy Police Department
- Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office
- Hayward Police Department
- Burlingame Police Department
- San Leandro Police Department
- Missouri Police Department
- Olivette, Missouri Police Department
- Northern California Regional Intelligence Center.