CHICAGO — A north suburban financial adviser has been indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling clients who had sought her assistance in purchasing a new home after foreclosure.
MARY MARTINEZ, also known as Mary Flores, 53, of Glencoe, is charged with ten counts of wire fraud in an indictment returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; William Hedrick, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago; Brad Geary, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General in Chicago; Jeffrey A. Monhart, Regional Director of the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration; and Tanya Solov, Director of the Illinois Securities Department of the Illinois Secretary of State. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Stern.
According to the indictment, Martinez owned and operated a number of companies, including Illinois Housing Solutions, America Investment Corporation, and Investor Short Sale Niche, that purported to offer financial services, real estate and mortgage services, and investment opportunities. Martinez advertised on the radio offering to help individuals who had lost their homes through foreclosures to purchase another home and improve their credit.
The charges allege that from 2011 to earlier this year, Martinez made false representations to victims to obtain investment funds, including retirement savings, college funds, and personal savings. Instead of helping victims save money for a down payment on a house, Martinez misappropriated a substantial portion of the victims’ funds to pay her personal and business expenses, including rent payments and retail purchases, the indictment states.
As a result of the scheme, Martinez caused losses to victims of at least approximately $450,000, according to the charges.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.