Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Orange County

D.A. Adds Fraud to Meth Lab Charges

April 10, 2002|MONTE MORIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two years ago, authorities charged that baker Richard Martinez was actually cooking up a batch of methamphetamine the day his mother's restaurant exploded in flames.

Now prosecutors accuse Martinez of illegally collecting more than $500,000 in medical payments and workers' compensation as a result of his burn injuries.

Martinez, who has denied any wrongdoing, suffered burns to more than 60% of his body in the fire on March 4, 2000, which gutted his mother's Zapopan Bakery in Santa Ana. Martinez told police he was attempting to ignite a water heater's pilot light with a match and newspapers when he suddenly heard a low rumble and was engulfed in flames. However, investigators say the fire was started by a meth lab Martinez operated in the bakery's attic.

As Martinez awaited trial on the meth lab charge, Deputy Dist. Atty. Vickie Bridgman said she learned that the defendant had collected, and continues to collect, weekly workers' compensation payments. Consequently, Bridgman said she charged Martinez with workers' compensation fraud and grand theft.

Martinez, who could not be reached for comment, remains free on $25,000 bond.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|