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Ex-worker of 120-year-old S.A. firm accused of stealing $1.4 million

May 25, 2018 GMT

The former comptroller of a 120-year-old San Antonio company that makes locks and other detention equipment for prisons and jails has been charged with fraud and tax evasion for allegedly embezzling about $1.4 million.

Ryan Glenn Martinez worked for Southern Folger Detention Equipment Company LLC, formerly a subsidiary of Phelps-Tointon Inc., and between January 2012 and May 2014, he’s accused of setting up shell entities to funnel money intended to pay Southern Folger for equipment.

A federal grand jury indicted Martinez last week with 10 counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering and four counts of filing false tax returns, charges that stemmed from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division. He turned himself in Thursday, entered a not guilty plea and was released on personal recognizance bond.

According to the indictment, Martinez set up shell company M.C. Media LLC and aliases that included MCM LLC to use them in various ways in his scheme. The indictment said he stole checks or money orders issued by customers as payment to Southern Folger, stole checks issued by health insurers to Southern Folger and used MCM LLC as a fake vendor to bill Southern Folger and its then-parent company Phelps-Tointon.

The indictment said he deceived co-workers with false emails that caused Southern Folger and Phelps-Tointon to wire money to a bank account he owned and controlled, and covered up his fraud with false entries in the company’s books.

“Nobody is fighting that he did some things he shouldn’t have done,” Martinez’s lawyer, Mike McCrum, said. “(The amount of money) is overstated. Money was withdrawn, but put back into the company. We’re going to try to clear that up.”

Southern Folger Detention Equipment, formerly, Southern Steel, has been in operation for 121 years, and is a leading global provider of detention locks and hardware, detention equipment contracting, security electronics systems, and a leader in facility service and maintenance, according to a May 2017 news release announcing that Coastal Detention Holdings LLC of Georgia had bought 100 percent equity in Southern Folger from Phelps-Tointon.

Guillermo Contreras is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | gcontreras@express-news.net | @gmaninfedland