Rolled dollar bills

Financial Investigations

As a Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent, Steven Martin obtained an undercover off-shore bank license from a Caribbean nation-state. While working on a steroid trafficking case, Martin discovered that suspects in the case had owned an off-shore bank through which illegal drug trafficking proceeds were laundered. Martin acquired permission from the island’s governor to acquire an undercover off-shore bank license provided that he did so in undercover status when meeting with the banking commissioner. After speaking with the official for two hours, Martin convinced him that he was a Nevada Certified Public Accountant (CPA) looking for a way to invest his California clients’ assets. The UC off-shore bank was used in a major DEA international money laundering investigation.

While assigned to the El Paso Intelligence Center, Martin investigated the purchase of a United State bank by a foreign national. By following the money regarding the purchase, Martin determined that bank had actually been purchased by over a dozen foreign nationals instead of one as had originally been reported to the Federal Reserve in a license application. Consequently, the Federal Reserve fined the bank the largest fine at that time and foreign ownership was restricted. Martin received a letter of commendation from a national security agency for this investigation.

While with the Government Accountability Office, Martin was assigned to find and interview an individual nationwide who was among the highest debtors to the United States for individual income taxes. Martin searched at several of the individual’s properties in Oklahoma, leaving his business card with a request to call at each one. Later, when on a different assignment in California, Martin again left his business card on properties associated with the taxpayer. Martin discovered through Facebook that the taxpayer had an ex-spouse who lived in Florida. When on assignment there, Martin and another Special Agent visited the ex-spouse’s residence, again leaving a business card there. Within a half-hour, Martin received a telephone call from the taxpayer and got the interview. The taxpayer asked Martin why he had been following him all across the country.

In addition to the other cases written about here, Martin has also worked undercover in support of financial investigations at the following times:

  • For GAO, Martin posed as a student applying for admission – For-Profit Colleges:
    Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud and Engaged in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices; the YouTube video was played for Congress , Martin’s part starts at 5:40
  • In a DEA case, a Tampa, Florida bar owner laundered $10,000 three times for Martin posing as a drug trafficker
  • For DEA, Martin established undercover corporations, set up UC bank accounts, and rented UC warehouses; the warehouses were the hardest to get because after 9/11 warehouses were thorough in their due diligence, wanting to know their customers’ histories, consequently Martin had to device credible back stories
  • For GAO, Martin established UC post office boxes, acquired fraudulent drivers’ licenses, acquired other fraudulent US government identification, and filed fraudulent tax returns with the IRS to test its ability to detect them.