U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced Monday that a former employee of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) pleaded guilty to charges associated with a $400,000 theft.
Fifty-three-year-old Hector Martinez of Pico Rivera, California pleaded guilty to an aggravated identity theft and wire fraud scheme that was carried out from December 2010 to October 2015, according to court documents.
NLRB is an independent federal agency that handles complaints of unfair labor practices committed by unions and private sector employers. When the agency settles or successfully litigates a case on behalf of “discriminates,” the defendant must pay monetary damages, also known as “back pay.
Martinez worked at the NLRB Region 21 office in Los Angeles as a compliance officer. His job duties included disbursing back pay to aggrieved workers, according to court records.
Martinez created fake discriminates who were owed back pay from real cases that were settled or successfully litigated. He paired the fictitious names with real social security numbers that belonged to other people. He then created fictitious amounts and deposited the full or partial back pay into accounts that he could access. This left victims being underpaid or not paid at all.
Martinez faces a sentence likely to range from 33 to 41 months in prison. As part of the plea, he has agreed to pay restitution up to $434,823 to NLRB. His sentence hearing is scheduled for November 6. 2017.