The chief of staff to the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, the News4 I-Team has learned.
In an affidavit, U.S. Capitol Police investigators said Cynthia Martin, top aide to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), had initially refused to repay $13,000 mistakenly deposited in her savings account.
Martin’s misconduct involved her savings account in the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union, a credit union with branches inside the Capitol and the Rayburn and Longworth House Office Buildings, investigators said. In the court filings, the investigators said another credit union customer mistakenly routed $16,500 of his direct deposits to Martin’s account, by writing down the wrong account number when he opened the account.
In their filings with the court, the investigators said Martin was aware of the erroneous deposits, but at first refused to return the money.
The mistaken deposits were placed in Martin’s account every pay period, every two weeks, in $500 increments, investigators said in their court filings. The mistaken deposits, they said, continued from May 2013 to September 2015.
According to the investigators, Martin began transferring money from her savings account to other credit union accounts in 2014 and made a $1,000 withdrawal from one of the credit union’s ATMs.
Court filings said the victim is an employee of the Washington, D.C.-based National Federation of Independent Business. They said the deposits were listed as “NFIB Office Pay,” when they appeared in Martin’s account.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
In their court filings, investigators said the victim whose money was directed into Martin’s account sought to have it returned. According to the court filings, Congressional Federal Credit Union policy only allowed the credit union to recover $3,500 of the $16,500 in erroneous deposits from Martin’s account. According to those filings, investigators suspected Martin was aware of the policy and initially declined to turn over the rest of the money.
The I-Team reached Martin by phone. She declined to comment on the case.
Conyers' spokeswoman told News4 the congressman just placed Martin on unpaid leave. His office will further review the case.
Court records show Martin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property Thursday. Martin was ordered to pay restitution. She is scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court in September for a hearing to update the court on her restitution payments.
Congressional records reviewed by the I-Team show Martin earned about $166,000 salary in 2015, serving as Rep. Conyers' chief of staff.