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Orange County

Man Admits Guilt in Meth Blast, Fraud Case

September 11, 2002|--From a Times staff writer

A Santa Ana man pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing a methamphetamine explosion in which he was badly burned, then defrauding an insurance company to get paid for the injury.

Richard Martinez, 34, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 11 for manufacturing the drug, insurance fraud and theft, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Vickie Bridgman, who prosecuted the case. Under a plea bargain, she said, Martinez will serve three years, eight months in prison

On Feb. 4, 2000, Martinez was burned over 60% of his body in a fire caused by the explosion of a methamphetamine laboratory at the Zapopan Panaderia in the 400 block of Euclid Street in Santa Ana. While still in the hospital, where he spent more than four months, Martinez filed a worker's compensation claim against the bakery, his employer at the time of the explosion.

He has agreed to dismiss the claim and pay $40,000 in restitution for money he received as a result of that claim, Bridgman said.

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