Florida Woman Accused of Using $15K of Pandemic Loan to Hire Hitman

A Florida woman has been accused of using a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to hire a hitman to kill a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent.

Jasmine Martinez received the $15,000 loan to help keep her beauty salon afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami Herald reported. Authorities have accused her of using the funds to hire Javon Carter, an ex-con, to shoot Le'Shonte Jones, the TSA agent at Miami International Airport, as she was walking to her apartment. Jones was shot to death last May.

Detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department said Martinez used at least $10,000 from the loan to pay Carter, as she withdrew that amount a few days before the killing, according to the Miami Herald. It is an extreme example of a series of fraud cases centered around the pandemic relief loan, legal news site JD Supra reported.

Court records show Martinez had a history of violence toward Jones, the Miami Herald report added. Jones had been a witness for the prosecution in a robbery case involving Martinez.

In 2016, Martinez was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly hitting Jones, who was dating Martinez's ex-boyfriend, but the charges were dropped. Martinez was arrested for allegedly attacking Jones in 2018, then Martinez's ex-boyfriend Kelly Nelson was arrested for allegedly attacking Jones in 2020.

The attacks allegedly escalated on May 3, 2021, when Carter was accused of shooting Jones multiple times when she was coming home after a shift at the airport. According to WTVJ-TV, Jones' 3-year-old daughter was injured in the shooting.

Police announced the arrests of Martinez, Carter and Romiel Robinson in connection with the killing on Friday, WTVJ reported. Authorities charged all three with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Martinez and Robinson is expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Police said Robinson served as the go-between for Martinez to find a hitman, initiating contact by calling Carter about "a life or death situation" a few months before the killing, according to WTVJ. In March, Jones reported being offered money not to testify against Nelson and Martinez, but in April she testified.

A warrant said Robinson allegedly called Carter a few weeks before the killing to negotiate a price, apparently speaking in code by using terms like "the number 10 jersey" instead of $10,000, according to WTVJ. Cellphone data placed Carter at Jones' apartment complex, allegedly surveilling her. The data also showed Carter at the complex at the time of the killing.

Attorneys for Martinez and Robinson told the Miami Herald that their clients did not have anything to do with Jones' death.

The Miami-Dade Police Department and Martinez's attorney did not immediately respond to Newsweek's requests for comment.

Update 2/16/22, 11:42 a.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information.

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A Florida woman is accused of hiring a hit man to kill a TSA agent using a PPP loan. Stock Image/Getty Images