A Bristolville man, who plans to plead guilty to a murder-for-hire charge, could face an additional 20 years in federal prison after prosecutors charged former Cleveland Clinic nurse Andrew Martin with illegally accessing patient records at the hospital.
Martin, 23, an emergency room registered nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, is scheduled to plead guilty April 18 to a murder-for-hire plot that alleges he tried to hire a patient he was treating to murder a 70-year-old woman he disputed with over who owned the woman’s dead brother’s home.
Prosecutors this week also filed an additional charge illegally obtaining identifiable health information, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Martin will be arraigned the same day he is set to plead guilty on the other charge.
Martin was indicted by a federal grand jury in December on the murder-for-hire charge after authorities said he tried to hire a St. Clair Street patient to kill Lakewood resident Joy Comey for $10,000.
The charge carries a 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Records said the man Martin tried to hire went to the Mayfield Police Department and eventually recorded phone conversations he had with Martin about killing Comey using devices provided by agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The plot stems from a deed to a home at 17225 Clifton Blvd. in Lakewood previously owned by George Warehime, who, upon dying in December 2010, made Comey his estate administrator.
The new charges allege Martin accessed Warehime’s medical records, since he was a patient at Cleveland Clinic. He gave the information to his business partner and friend, David Simmons, so he could cover-up a fraudulent quit-claim to take over the man’s home after he died in 2010.
Simmons attempted to file a quit-claim deed on the property Nov. 21, 2011 with Warehime’s signature dated February 2010. Investigators later found Simmons had approached a contractor who worked for Martin and asked him if he knew anyone who would notarize a backdated deed because the man who owned the house died before he could sign it.
Simmons eventually got the backdated deed notarized by Rebecca E. Bungard, of Warren, whose father of her children is Martin’s fiancé’s father.
The new charges say Simmons said in a sworn deposition in the fraud case that he and Warehime knew each other, using his medical records, and that Simmons gave him the information.
Simmons and Martin know each other, the ATF affidavit said, because they had been arrested by Shaker Heights police in August 2011 for theft. Martin was never charged and Simmons was cited. Simmons was hired by Martin to be the property manager for 17225 Clifton Blvd.
Comey told investigators she went to her brother’s home in November 2011 and saw Simmons and Martin inside.
Simmons claimed Warehime transferred the home to him and the Cuyahoga County Recorders Office acknowledged the deed transfer, but Cuyahoga County Cuyahoga County Probate Judge Laura Gallagher ruled in that case that Simmons fraudulently obtained the deed on Nov. 26.
On May 15, 2012, before the ruling, Simmons took out a $600,000 insurance policy on the Clifton Boulevard home. Ten days later, the house burned to the ground and Lakewood Fire Marshal investigators ruled the fire an arson. The affidavit said Simmons was denied the insurance.
On Oct. 25, the affidavit said, Martin was treating a large man from St. Clair Street in Cleveland, a historically dangerous part of the city, went to the Cleveland Clinic main campus on Cleveland’s East Side for emergency room care.
The affidavit said the man told investigators Martin, who was his nurse, asked him where he was from and if he ever hurt or killed anyone. The man replied that he once shot someone in the leg, the affidavit said.
Martin then told the man he wanted to “take someone out.” The affidavit said Martin said “this 70-year-old lady is trying mess up my life.” He instructed the man to go to her home, knock on the door and shoot her in the head four times, then make it look like a robbery, the affidavit said. He gave the man Comey’s Lakewood address and described the vehicle she drove.
They agreed to the $10,000 price and the men went to the Maple Heights Police Department after being released from the hospital about a week later.
The man told Martin he killed the woman and hid her in a basement closet and the man discussed their next moves while working, the affidavit said.