Sacramento woman allegedly fakes own rape to convince husband to move

Laurie Ann Martinez
Laurie Ann Martinez
Sacramento Police Dept

Laurie Ann Martinez, a prison psychologist with the California Department of Corrections, was charged Friday with faking her own rape in order to convince her husband they needed to move.

Martinez conspired with a friend to create the appearance that she was beaten, robbed and raped in her Sacramento home in April, according to conspiracy charges filed by the Sacramento County district attorney.

Investigators say she split her own lip with a pin, scraped her knuckles with sandpaper and had her friend punch her in the face with boxing gloves they bought for that purpose. She ripped open her blouse to expose her breasts, wet her pants to give the appearance she had been knocked unconscious, and was crying hysterically when police arrived, according to court papers.

She then told police she had come home that day to find a stranger in her kitchen.

"As she tried to run away, the suspect grabbed her and hit her in the face," court records said, describing what she told Sacramento police. "She lost consciousness and then when she awoke she found her pants and underwear pulled down to her ankles."

Missing from her home were two laptop computers, Martinez's purse, an Xbox video game console, a camera and numerous credit cards that Martinez said the stranger had stolen.

In reality, the items were all at the home of her friend, Nicole April Snyder.

Martinez, her friend, and two co-workers eventually told police the whole thing was an elaborate setup to convince Martinez's husband, David, that they needed to move.

It didn't work. Instead, the couple filed for divorce in May, six weeks after the April 10 incident at the home they shared, according to court records.

"If all you wanted to do is move, there's other ways than staging a burglary and rape," said Sacramento police Sgt. Andrew Pettit. "She went to great lengths to make this appear real."

Police detectives and crime scene investigators spent hundreds of hours on the case, he said, until one of Martinez's prison co-workers came forward to say Martinez had been talking at work about faking a crime at her home to persuade her husband to move.

"It doesn't sit well for other women who really are victims, crying wolf," Pettit said.

According to a 2009 study by the American Prosecutors Research Foundation, only 2 to 8 percent of reported rapes turn out to be false.

Martinez was arrested Monday and freed on $50,000 bond. There is no record that she has a criminal attorney before her arraignment set for Monday.

Snyder, her accomplice, has also been charged with the same conspiracy counts. A warrant has been issued for her arrest, and there is no record that Snyder has retained an attorney, said Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Snyder's father told the Sacramento Bee she would be out of town until Saturday and that he was not aware of the case.

If convicted of conspiracy, each woman faces up to three years in prison, Orio said.