The Enumclaw life insurance salesman who was arrested and charged with wire fraud this week, and who had apparently been trying to fake his own death, had successfully fled the country before he returned to the U.S. and was taken into custody.
According to a government memorandum in support of his detention prior to trial, Aaron Travis Beaird boarded a flight June 25 from Seattle to Philadelphia and then arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 26. He appeared to have remained overseas until July 2, when he returned and was arrested at Sea-Tac International Airport upon his arrival.
Beaird told investigators he had contemplated leaving the country as well as taking his own life earlier on. His vehicle was found abandoned near Deception Pass Bridge on June 23 along with a note and digital voice recording, the memo said.
Beaird's family reportedly told investigators they had no communication with him past June 22. He had, however, sent letters to several purported victims of his alleged fraudulent schemes admitting his wrongdoing and declaring he was taking his own life.
One Count of Wire Fraud
According to charging papers filed in U.S. District Court, Beaird "knowingly devised a scheme and artifice to defraud investors and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises."
Prosecutors allege he has defrauded at least five clients of about $2 million. The investigation remains open and more instances of fraudulent activity are believed to have occurred.
One client, identified as D.B., had in May 2011 purchased a $2 million life insurance policy that Beaird told him required an initial $500,000 premium payment that would yield a 20 percent cash surrender value in its first year, or a sum of $600,000. Investigators report Beaird made, in total, premium payments toward that policy of about $200,000; the remaining balance of the initial $500,000 remains unaccounted for.
D.B. had reportedly withdrawn money from his IRA account, with Beaird's help, to pay for this policy. According to documents, Beaird told D.B. to roll the funds over from his IRA to a self-directed IRA, and it was D.B.'s understanding the money would remain in the subsequent IRA until Beaird delivered the new policy to D.B. Instead, Beaird had, without D.B.'s permission, transferred the money out of the self-directed IRA and into an account belonging to Ideal Ventures LP, an entity controlled by Beaird.
Beaird had allegedly also filed a fraudulent death claim in May of this year for D.B., indicating he had died of acute cardiopulmonary arrest on April 30. When the carrier of the policy, American United Life Insurance Company, contacted D.B. to verify the death, he indicated he was still alive.
Kent Binning, managing partner of Team Financial Partners where Beaird worked, told investigators he confronted him about the fraudulent death claim and Beaird admitted to falsifying the claim.
According to the report filed by FBI Special Agent Spencer Walker, Beaird's whereabouts became unknown on or about June 21. On the note that was found in his abandoned vehicle by the Deception Pass Bridge on June 23 was the indication that he had jumped off the bridge, but no body was found.
In one letter he is said to have sent to his victims, Beaird said, "...I am sorry to inform you that the money you entrusted in me is lost and I can not get it back I am so sorry for my terrible choices I used your money what a mess I have caused I just got stuck in a trap of stealing from one client to pay another obviously a terrible idea from the start please know it all started a long time ago I have lied about all surrender fees and % rates for years know that you do not deserve the grief that I have caused but I am writing you this letter to let you know the problem goes a lot deeper than just the money I have taken and lost of yours I have been lying for along time and have lost in one way or another a lot of the peoples money...[sic]"
He signed the letter, "Travis the cheat." According to prosecutors, Beaird's conduct spanned more than 10 years.
Beaird is due in court on Monday, July 9, at 2 p.m. in a detention hearing.