A former Des Moines, Iowa, sports radio host accused of defrauding people out of more than $1 million has been indicted on federal charges.
Martin “Marty” Tirrell faces six criminal fraud charges tied to the alleged swindling of at least eight people out of $1.5 million in 2016 and 2017, court documents show. Tirrell, who hosted popular talk shows for years on stations including KXNO-AM and appeared on Mediacom’s local cable shows, told the investors that, with their money, he could buy sports tickets and resell them at a profit they could all share, the indictment alleges.
Tirrell, 59, originally paid his financiers back and provided them with VIP access to events, federal court records filed Jan. 23 show. But eventually, the government says, Tirrell, who lived in Windsor Heights, Iowa, at the time, began lying to the victims and using their money on personal items, or to pay back other investors.
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To placate people wondering where their money was, he would send out checks he knew would bounce and provide victims with false wire transfer information, according to court documents.
Another part of the scheme, which is said to have taken place from September 2016 to December 2017, was check-kiting and submitting false debit card fraud claims to get cash, according to court records.
Tirrell is facing one count of mail fraud for allegedly sending four faulty checks totaling $355,522 to Burlington in November 2016. He faces two counts of wire fraud after one man sent him $15,000 on one occasion and $77,836.34 on another occasion.
One count of access device fraud has been filed, according to court records, because Tirrell in fall 2016 used an investor’s American Express credit card to get over $1,000.
Tirrell also faces one count of bank fraud for depositing a check for more than $13,800 into his Tirrell’s 62 and Even Ltd. bank account after already depositing the check elsewhere, the government says. Tirrell is also accused of submitting seven false fraud claims related to his debit card in late 2016.
An FBI agent took Tirrell into custody Wednesday. An online listing says he is being held at the Polk County (Iowa) Jail. A hearing to determine whether he will be held pending trial is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Tirrell has been the defendant in numerous civil lawsuits that alleged similar scams — online Iowa court records include at least 24 small claims and other civil actions against him. He was charged with felony theft for a couple of days in 2017 in connection with not paying for a flight that took him and eight friends to the last game of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians the previous fall. But the charge was dropped after Tirrell paid the bill.
Follow Tyler Davis on Twitter @TDavisDMR.