A federal grand jury has indicted a West Valley City man on fraud charges involving a woman who was supposed to fake her death to collect on a $250,000 life insurance policy.
Only Julie A. Martinez really was murdered her body found lying in a Kearns street in 2004.
Manuel Gilberto Jimenez, 34, appeared in federal court Friday where he was formally charged with wire fraud and conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the grand jury indictment unsealed Friday, Jimenez approached Martinez in September 2004 with a plan to make money through an insurance fraud scheme.
"As part of this scheme, Ms. Martinez was to obtain a life insurance policy and to name T.B. as the beneficiary," the indictment said, not naming who T.B. is or that person's relationship to Martinez or Jimenez.
"As further part of the conspiracy, after the insurance policy was procured, Jimenez was to provide T.B. with a fraudulent Mexican death certificate as evidence of Martinez's death. When proceeds of the life insurance policy were obtained from State Farm, Jimenez and Martinez were to share in the proceeds."
Martinez went to a State Farm insurance office on Oct. 5, 2004, and took out a $250,000 policy on her life, designating her "friend" T.B. as the beneficiary. She lied on the application about drug use, the indictment said.
A few weeks later, Martinez, 39, was found shot to death, lying face down on the street near 4900 South and 5200 South. Her slaying has never been solved, but in June 2005, federal prosecutors allege, Jimenez approached T.B. and asked T.B. to file a claim on the life insurance policy. The indictment also accuses Jimenez of credit card fraud involving T.B.
Authorities remained tight-lipped about whether Jimenez is considered a suspect in Martinez's murder. Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputies said Friday they have not made any arrests in connection with the slaying. The U.S. Attorney's Office would not comment on whether Jimenez had a role in Martinez's death.