YouTube video leads to arrest of man wanted in fraud case
A former West Hollywood real estate executive wanted for suspected fraud was arrested and charged after he was seen on a YouTube video promoting a restaurant he owned in Mexico, authorities said Thursday night.
Alejandro “Alex” Martinez, 44, was the president of West Hollywood escrow firm and allegedly stole $1.3 million from the company’s trust account, according to authorities.
The victims included newly married couples and military personnel stationed overseas, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The department said Martinez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday.
He allegedly used the money to buy property and open a restaurant called Cafe La Boheme in Merida, a city on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, authorities said.
Martinez is accused of fleeing to Mexico after detectives launched an investigation in 2009.
Det. Ron Sabatine, knowing that the suspect had probably fled to Mexico, did an Internet search and came across the April 2012 video featuring Martinez promoting his restaurant, according to the department.
An arrest was issued, and for unknown reasons Martinez flew to Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday. He was arrested at the airport.
Martinez is scheduled for a court appearance on Nov. 20.
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