Gearbox Software is a video game publisher based in Frisco, Texas. It’s perhaps best known for its first-person shooter franchises “Borderlands” and “Duke Nukem.”
John Wright Martin worked for the Pitchfords as a personal assistant. He started in 2014 and reportedly made $45,000 a year. He allegedly began charging personal expenses to his employers’ American Express business account in early 2015. He bought designer clothes, jewelry, airfare, hotel stays, and more. He even reportedly donated $10,000 of the Pitchfords’ money to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
Martin also allegedly forged Kristy Pitchford’s name on at least seven checks worth more than $73,000. She owns and operates a restaurant and coffee shop called Nerdvana Frisco. Authorities say the checks were written out to Martin and an artist friend who told them the money paid for several of his pieces. That friend was supposed to provide documentation to police, but cut off contact with detectives, Dallas News reports.
The Pitchfords noticed something was wrong when they didn’t have enough money to make payroll for Kristy’s Nerdvana business. She was able to immediately replenish the company’s account and pay the employees. Gearbox was unaffected. By that time, Martin no longer worked for the couple and was pursuing his own interior design business. He promised to pay them back, but his first check for over half a million dollars bounced.
Martin has reportedly been in and out of jail on various charges over the years, and the Pitchfords are not his only victims. He’s now charged with felony theft and forgery. If convicted, he could face life in prison. But Martin’s reportedly disappeared. He hasn’t performed court-ordered community service for a recent drunk driving conviction and he’s missed multiple monthly check-ins with his supervision officer. Martin’s attorney said he’s innocent, but implied he didn’t know where his client is and expressed concern for his well-being.
Randy Pitchford estimates Martin stole at least $3 million total from him and his wife. “We keep finding stuff,” he told Dallas News.