Florida Woman Accused of Using Stimulus Funds to Hire Hitman

(Brad Polumbo, Foundation for Economic Education)Another day, another crazy possible example of our tax dollars being misused.

A Florida woman allegedly used money from a federal stimulus loan to hire a hitman to murder a law enforcement enforcer, according to court documents and reporting from the Miami Herald

“The accused mastermind of the plot, Jasmine Martinez, received a $15,000 [Paycheck Protection Program] loan—which she claimed was to keep her single-employee beauty salon afloat—last April,” writes Herald court reporter David Ovalle. “She then withdrew over $10,000 of that in the days leading up to the murder, according to arrest warrants.”

“On May 3, 2021, the accused hitman, an ex-con named Javon Carter, ran up to U.S. Transportation Security Administration officer Le’Shonte Jones as she walked into her South Miami-Dade apartment, shooting her multiple times, according to police,” the Herald’s reporting continues. 

“Detectives believe Martinez, who had a series of run-ins with Jones over the years, paid Carter at least $10,000 to kill the Miami airport worker—a deal they say was bankrolled by money from the federal Payroll Protection Program.”

The reporting cites numerous examples of evidence against Martinez, who has been charged with murder. 

Her phone records allegedly reveal that she communicated with the accused hitman 127 times in the month before the killing. So, too, police say her cell records show that she met up with the accused hitman immediately after the killing.

According to arrest warrants, Martinez said during a prison phone call with an incarcerated individual that she was “ready to go kill this ho.”

Martinez’s lawyer maintains her innocence. And I want to be very clear: She has yet to be convicted of any crime and absolutely deserves the presumption of innocence. The reported charges above are all accusations sourced from law enforcement, not proven facts against her. 

We don’t yet know for sure if our tax dollars were actually used to fund a hit on the late TSA officer Le’Shonte Jones, the mother of a 3-year-old. But it seems, at the very least, highly plausible that this is the case based on the facts we have now. And, unfortunately, it would be par for the course with the absurd and haphazard way money was thrown out the door during the federal government’s “stimulus” efforts.

The $835 billion Paycheck Protection Program has proven to be a complete disaster. It was created by Congress in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and then repeatedly extended and re-funded in future legislation. The idea behind the program was that it would supposedly give “loans”—many were really grants because they usually didn’t need to be paid back—to help businesses stay afloat and keep their employees on payroll during this crisis. 

Suffice it to say it didn’t work out so great.

The feds sent hundreds of billions flying out the door with little to no verification process. Rampant fraud, waste, and dysfunction inevitably ensued.