It Was Never Enough
August 28, 2020 8:20 PM   Subscribe

"Reed felt a strong sense of urgency. Here, he thought, is a guy who can drive or fly just about any vehicle, with ties to foreign governments, who is known to use satellite phones and pay in cash, and who deals with foreign corporations that would give him funding outside U.S. jurisdiction. He wanted to get T. R. into custody before he fled the country, never to be seen again.""I got to the point where I was probably too arrogant and cocky for my own good,” T. R. said. “I thought that I would never be arrested, or that I could buy my way out of it. That’s how things work in the rest of the world.” SL TM
posted by blue shadows (14 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Excellent read, thank you for the link. International arms sales always attract these psychos and weirdos, I guess who else is going to do that job?
posted by Meatbomb at 9:55 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Fascinating read so far, but I cracked up at "Portuguese man-of-wars, which sting like jellyfish" - until I bothered checking, and found out they aren't technically jellyfish. So I've learned at least two things today.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:10 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Let's not completely derail the discussion immediately, please?]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:30 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Whole dude's life seems like a parody of something. I was shocked to learn how *recently* this all happened.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:12 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


I was expecting some fancy, elaborate scheme but really it was mostly just him insuring assets for inflated values. I can't see why this isn't primarily a civil issue between the guy and the insurance companies involved, who failed to do proper diligence on the value of the property involved. But crime is a social construct, I guess.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:36 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


A guy I know got arrested for burglarizing extruded aluminum rods. Upon inquiry, he told the officer that he needed the parts for an industrial robotic device of his own invention that he is prototyping in a nearby basement.

The arresting officer told him, "All perps are bad in my mind, but if I had to choose, I'd take the perps who're trying to do something, over the perps that scrap shit out to shoot up."

If you believe him that it was an advanced Jackass stunt to push the boundaries of that artform, then at least he had a mission.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:02 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


There was a fair amount of hand-wavery around his international arms dealing. Did he, or didn't he? And why exactly did his wife leave him? Just because he was a criminal? Or because he was an abusive, manipulative narcissist (which is never made explicit in the article but when I think of people I've known like this that is often where it ends up.)

Still, an interesting article. I just wanted more details about his 'business' - or was his business just insurance fraud?
posted by From Bklyn at 9:03 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


It reads to me like the insurance fraud provided the seed money for the arms dealing and other closer-to-legal business ventures.

I found it unfortunate that the article seemed to be saying that buying an asset for less than what you then insure it for is itself fraudulent. If it were, it would criminalize getting a good deal. It's not terribly uncommon for them to sell at below market because the seller is having financial trouble and can't make the loan payments. Part of that is because flying is expensive, so if you aren't making the payments you aren't flying the plane and a plane that has been sitting has a much greater chance of being a money pit. If the next owner has good maintenance records and flies it a decent amount, it will likely be worth more than it was bought for.

Intentionally crashing the plane and collecting insurance proceeds when the policy excludes intentional acts, on the other hand, very much is fraud. You'd think the insurance policy would only have covered replacement value regardless, so I'm not sure why the company didn't just buy him another Bonanza for less money if it did turn out to be overinsured and they didn't want to argue in court about it. You can bet your bottom dollar that your home or auto insurer won't just cut you a check without looking at current market prices.

The funny thing is that I remember his Gulf of Mexico stunt because his video got quite a bit of exposure in some aviation discussion groups. People thought it seemed fishy at the time just because of his demeanor on the video. There's a reason pilots don't like taking single engine piston airplanes over the gulf, so it isn't like having to ditch is suspicious on its own, but the video combined with the poor choice to even try given the easy alternative of simply not gave people pause.
posted by wierdo at 10:01 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


A guy I know got arrested for burglarizing extruded aluminum rods

I bet he regrets that now; after all, hindsight is 2020

(I'll get me coat ...)
posted by scruss at 10:07 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


What a sociopath. He clearly thinks defrauding insurance is a sort of sport, and he’s certainly going to continue at shady schemes after release. Our legal system ought to have a notion of white-collar crime probation officers: you get released, you don’t need to report to an office to get drug tested, but all of the federal agencies are going to watch your financial dealings like hawks for the rest of your life.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:18 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Since this is aviation adjacent I'd like to reiterate what I posted on another thread a day or so ago:

All I can say is that aviation is a weird place with lots of uptight performative rectitude sitting right next to the most wild ass criminal careless fraud and hucksterism.

This guy seems like central casting for the charming antisocial personality type. These kind of people seem really dangerous to me as you cannot depend upon them valuing people anymore than say a take out cup of coffee, you might really like the coffee while you drink it but the cup you dispose of without a thought.

If you want a good tale of insurance fraud there is the case of the Murder Hustle from the late 80's.

If you read the above you can click on this spoiler that makes me suspect bullshitters going to bullshit.
posted by Pembquist at 11:07 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


There was a fair amount of hand-wavery around his international arms dealing. Did he, or didn't he?

I noticed that. There were a number of vague claims but not much substantive, other than the one Zeta anecdote:

When Reed took the stand, he argued that T. R. was dangerous. He was, Reed said, a person who had worked with the Zetas, a notoriously violent Mexican cartel. This was an overblown accusation, T. R. told me, since all he did was sell two helicopters, through a law firm in San Antonio, to a client who just happened to be in the Zetas, and then, later, buy one of the helicopters and its logbook back.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:39 AM on August 30


A good read, thanks for posting.

[jacquilynne] I can't see why this isn't primarily a civil issue between the guy and the insurance companies involved, who failed to do proper diligence on the value of the property involved. But crime is a social construct, I guess.

As others have pointed out, there's a lot more here than just fudging the value of a vehicle on an insurance application. He intentionally crashed a plane to commit insurance fraud, causing Coast Guard personnel to risk their lives rescuing him. At the very least, he is guilty of conspiracy to commit arson, if not actual arson itself. This is NOT a white collar crime. People regularly do long jail terms for setting relatively small fires.

Crime is a social construct, but I can't think of any reasonable definition of "criminal" that this guy doesn't meet.
posted by tom_r at 10:36 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I do get that there are other crimes involved rather than just insurance fraud, but if the insurance company didn't keep oveinsuring his stupid man toys he never would have had any incentive to crash or burn them.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:29 AM on August 31


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