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Con man left guest house bills unpaid

A convicted con man yesterday admitted ripping off two local guest houses, leaving them with more than $9,000 in unpaid bills.

Dana Edward Martin, 53, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to two counts of fraud.

The court heard that Martin, a former Bermuda Housing Corporation worker, first checked into the Little Pomander Guest House in late July, telling the operator that his house was undergoing renovations.

Martin paid his bill until August 14, but then stopped making payments saying he was having difficulty getting his money out of his company.

He wrote a note promising to pay the $6,300 in outstanding fees, and said he would even pay extra.

He left the Paget guest house on October 7 saying he was going to the bank to sort the money out, but never returned.

On October 13, Martin checked into the Blue Horizons Guest house for a two-night stay under the name “Kevin Masters”.

He paid for those nights, but on October 15 he requested to extend his stay by two weeks, and later another two weeks.

He racked up an unpaid bill of $2,875 at the guest house between October 15 and November 8.

When repeatedly asked to pay, Martin said that his money was tied up in his business and the bank was refusing to release it.

During one discussion about the money owed, Martin called HSBC in front of guest house owner Brenda Spencer and had what appeared to be an argument with a woman named Sandy.

However when Martin left the room, Mrs Spencer called the bank and was told that Sandy was not working at that time.

Yesterday, Crown counsel Carrington Mahoney told the court that Martin has five previous convictions for fraud.

He was sentenced to one year in prison for those charges, in which he stole $158,000 from two unsuspecting investors between April 1 and September 14, 1999.

He is currently awaiting trial in Magistrates’ Court on two other fraud charges.

Mr Mahoney told the court that Martin is unemployed however Martin claimed that he is scheduled to start work with Lopes Construction next week.

“I apologise for this. It’s been hard times for the last year-and-a-half,” he said. “I would like to reimburse both parties.”

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said that in his view, given all the circumstances, the offence merits at least a year in prison.

However, he said the affected businesses would be shortchanged if Martin is imprisoned, and the public would be left paying the tab for his incarceration.

He adjourned the matter until this morning for sentencing to give Martin an opportunity to prove to the court that he is indeed employed and would be able to reimburse the complainants.

Until then, Mr Warner remanded Martin in custody.

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Published November 15, 2011 at 8:35 am (Updated November 15, 2011 at 8:35 am)

Con man left guest house bills unpaid

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