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Con man escapes jail sentence

A convicted con man who swindled two guest houses out of more than $9,000 escaped a prison term, but must pay half his weekly salary back to his victims.

Dana Martin, 53, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of fraud after staying for weeks on end at the Little Pomander and Blue Horizons without paying his bills.

He left Little Pomander with $6,300 in outstanding fees and still owes $2,850 to Blue Horizons. When the venues asked for payment, he made excuses and did not produce the cash.

Martin has five previous convictions for fraud. When he worked for the Bermuda Housing Corporation in 1999, he conned unsuspecting investors out of $158,000 by using forged BHC documents.

He was jailed for that crime, and the court heard that one of his victims ended up in prison himself due to the debt he left her in. He is currently awaiting trial on two other fraud charges.

Martin, who has no fixed address, told the court yesterday that he is due to start work for 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 noted that the affected businesses would be shortchanged if Martin were imprisoned, and the public would be left paying the tab for his incarceration.

He adjourned the matter until yesterday to give Martin an opportunity to prove that he is indeed employed and able to reimburse the victims.

As a result, construction boss Gilbert Lopes came to court to tell Mr Warner that he is indeed due to employ Martin as a labourer.

Having satisfied himself that Martin will have a source of income, the magistrate meted out two one-year prison sentences, each suspended for two years. He ordered him to pay $250-per-week back to each guest house until his debts are paid off.

He warned Martin that if he commits any further crime or fails to pay up, he may still be sent to jail.

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Published November 16, 2011 at 9:10 am (Updated November 16, 2011 at 9:10 am)

Con man escapes jail sentence

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