State Mine Inspector Doug Martin has been indicted on multiple theft and fraud charges stemming from how he bought and sold vehicles for his agency.
The nine-count indictment by the state grand jury, released Thursday, contends Martin bought four vehicles in violation of the state procurement code and an agreement with the state Department of Administration that restricted the practice.
The 67-year-old Queen Creek resident also faces allegations by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office of falsely representing to a dealer that he had authority to enter lease-purchase arrangements and deceiving the state into making the monthly payments.
In addition, he is accused of using four different vehicles as trade-ins on the unauthorized purchases, violating other laws restricting the sale and disposal of state property.
Martin, a Republican, was first elected in 1988. His agency enforces safety laws and regulations for all Arizona mines.
Although Martin declined to comment on the charges, his chief assistant, Kerry Ugalde, defended him by saying Martin was signing documents that others — she would not say who — led him to believe were legal.
“He didn’t steal anything, any property,” Ugalde said. She also said Martin had made arrangements for buying and disposing of vehicles with former directors of the Department of Administration.
Martin’s office was first audited in August. At the time, Ugalde acknowledged that state laws were broken but said Martin wasn’t trying to defraud the state; rather, he meant to save it some money.
One charge relates to Martin giving a state-owned 2002 Chevrolet Astro Van to the Arizona Mine Emergency Association, where he was director and treasurer.
Ugalde argued that state law allows Martin to donate mine rescue equipment
to any nonprofit mine rescue group. “My understanding is that van was used for some mine rescue trainings,” she said.
Martin is the state’s second elected official to face charges this year. State Treasurer David Petersen, who had agreed to plead guilty to charges that he failed to disclose some income, was sentenced this week to pay $4,500 in fines and placed on three years of probation.