An insurance fraudster from Washington state, who made $6 million by tricking his own family and members of his church, faces jail on Friday after he faked his suicide.
Aaron Travis Beaird, 39, targeted his family and friends in a scheme that lasted ten years, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
He also "skimmed money" from what clients paid him, as he was a life insurance salesman. To back up his crimes, he doctored documents and redirected the company's mail to his PO Box.
Once his fraud was discovered, he pretended to commit suicide, leaving behind his car at a waterfront and sending goodbye letters to clients. He then went to Scotland for a week.
Prosecutors say he should be sentenced to six years in prison. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez will sentence Beaird Friday afternoon.
Victims of Beaird's are deeply distraught, many having lost a significant amount of money.
"Mr. Beaird is the worst of thieves," a victim said in a letter to court. "He has stolen from the elderly, a widow, the blind, his family, and his wife's family. He has stolen from trusted friends."
Another victim wrote: "I considered Travis a very trusted and loyal friend and adviser, he took everything my husband and I worked our entire life to build. He left me broke at 61, a distraught widow."
"Travis Beaird is a predator," one victim said. "He was a personal friend, and betrayed all the trust that was given to him."
Beaird was also a church leader, and had managed to trick members of the church, forcing one victim to live in a trailer with a lost fortune.
Though Beaird got away with his fraud for a decade, the tipping point was in 2011 when he tried to collect $500,000 on a man's life insurance by saying he had died when he hadn't. Soon it was discovered by the insurance company.
As Beaird's lies became clear, he decided to fake suicide, leaving his car at a waterfront called "Deception Pass." He then took a taxi to a nearby airport and caught a flight to Scotland.
After flying back to Seattle a week later, he was arrested. He pleaded guilty to FBI investigators.
Beaird's victims are not likely to see their money returned, as he spent around $5.7 million of the stolen funds. Though he had invested much of the money into other businesses, they were ultimately unsuccessful.
"Unfortunately, none of the many companies he started proved successful as he lacked any real business experience and simply had too many projects going to manage them all," defense attorney Nancy Tenney told the court.
"Mr. Beaird has lost his professional license, his business, his wife, all material assets, as well as his reputation."
Part of Beaird's letter to court said: "I had everything going for me in life, such high hopes, a beautiful family and good intentions. Not a day goes by that I haven't wished I could go back and make things right."