A Clark County man pleaded guilty to stealing money from his deceased friend’s $1.7 million estate.
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Ronald E. Martin Sr., 65, of Medway, used around $890,000 for his own personal benefit from the estate of Robert L. Mollwitz, according to court documents.
Martin pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. He could face up to 40 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to court documents, Martin and Mollwitz were friends for decades. In September 2010, Mollwitz signed his will and living trust, naming Martin as executor of the will and trustee.
No document allocated money to Martin for his personal use but rather, money was assigned to be maintained a woman who officials did not identify.
Mollwitz died in June 2012, and, in November 2013, Martin opened a bank account in his own name, as the trustee of Mollwitz’s estate, according to court documents.
From February 2014 to May 2017, Martin requested over $1 million be transferred from the new account and issued approximately 146 checks, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The majority of the checks were made to himself or his inactive business, Total Mobile Home Services, to hide his activities, officials said.
Martin is accused of primarily using the money for slot machines at Hollywood Casino in Dayton, to pay off personal loans and to give to family members.
Martin’s bank froze his funds after suspecting irregular activity. He attempted to release the funds and lied to bank personnel stating that the intended recipient of the estate gave him access to the funds, according to investigators.
The woman who was the intended recipient never consented to Martin using the funds for personal use and, during the three-year theft, she relied on Social Security Disability benefits as her only income, according to court documents.
As part of his plea, Martin has agreed to pay more than $890,000 in restitution.