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Feds: Insurance salesman stole $2M, faked own death

SEATTLE -- A Enumclaw life insurance salesman is facing federal fraud charges following allegations that he stole at least $2 million from his clients while attempting to also fool an insurance agency.

Currently jailed, Aaron Travis Beaird is alleged to have attempted to fake his own death after he was confronted about the year-long fraud. A suicide note left at Deception Pass apparently didn't dissuade federal investigators, who arrested Beaird on Tuesday.

Beaird, formerly of Team Financial Partners in Enumclaw, is accused of stealing millions from his clients. Federal prosecutors in Seattle also claim Beaird, a financial advisor and insurance salesman, fraudulently reported that one of his clients had died in an attempt to collect on a $2 million policy.

In charges unsealed earlier this week, prosecutors claim Beaird lied about key features of the plans provided by American United Life Insurance Company, then skimmed from his clients' premium payments while providing falsified documents aimed at hiding the fraud.

While the investigation is ongoing, prosecutors contend Beaird stole about $2 million from five clients. An FBI agent investigating Beaird told the court he believes more fraudulent transactions will be discovered.

In May 2011, Beaird convinced one client - a retired commercial pilot and longtime acquaintance of Beaird's - to make a one-time premium payment of $500,000 on a $2 million life insurance policy. According to charging documents, Beaird told the man the 20-year policy would grow in value by 20 percent after its first year and 6.5 percent every year thereafter; he suggested it was a safer investment than the stock market.

While Beaird used $200,000 to fund a whole-life insurance policy for the man, prosecutors claim the remaining $300,000 is unaccounted for.

Writing the court, the special agent contended Beaird attempted in April to defraud the insurance firm out of $2 million by claiming that the man died. Contacted by authorities, the man confirmed he was alive.

Speaking with investigators, the man said he first suspected Beaird had bilked him after he received a condolence letter from the insurance company. At the time, the man told investigators, Beaird claimed it was a mistake and said he would clear it up.

The FBI agent went on to note that Beaird attempted to fake his own death on June 23, after he was confronted about the apparent fraud.

Beaird had gone missing two days before his vehicle was found parked near the Deception Pass Bridge. Inside, the agent told the court, was a suicide note.

"I have also learned that Beaird sent similar notes to some of the purported victims of his scheme," the agent told the court. "The letter references the fraudulent policies and admits responsibility. The letter was signed 'Travis the scam man.'"

As was the case with his former client, rumors of Beaird's death were premature.

He was arrested July 3 and remains detained at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center pending a review hearing scheduled for July 9 in U.S. District Court. Beaird has been charged with two counts of wire fraud.

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