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Sales manager in Hernando accused of stealing $700,000

SPRING HILL — The longtime sales manager of Royal Coachman Homes was arrested late last week on charges that he stole more than $700,000 from his employer over six years through bogus sales commission checks.

William Martinez, 63, of 12059 Buckingham Way in Spring Hill was arrested on Friday on six counts of organized fraud of $50,000 or more, and a single count of grand theft for allegedly forging and depositing 163 phony checks from July 2002 to February of this year.

Martinez has worked for Royal Coachman for 17 years as a sales manager, where his duties included preparing sales contracts and commission check requests for sales associates, according to an arrest affidavit.

Investigators were alerted in September by company president Joseph Mazzucco and vice president Mary Mazzucco, who discovered the alleged thefts during a review of their company records.

Detectives from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office found 163 checks ranging in value from $1,500 to $11,500 that contained forged signatures of Joseph or Mary Mazzucco.

The checks also contained endorsement signatures under different sales associates' names. All checks also contained an endorsement signature of William Martinez and the notation, "pay to William Martinez,'' according to authorities.

When contacted by investigators, none of the sales associates said they had agreed to sign over their checks to Martinez.

Detectives examined Martinez's bank statements and found that all 163 checks had been deposited into his account. The records showed that money had been withdrawn from the account, but investigators have not determined the whereabouts of the bulk of the money.

Bail was initially set at $302,000 but later reduced to $32,000. Martinez was released on bail, with a court date set for Jan. 13. Martinez could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Sales manager in Hernando accused of stealing $700,000 12/09/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 12, 2008 1:56pm]

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