TYLER, Texas – Acting U.S.
Attorney Brit Featherston announced that a Texas pilot has pleaded guilty today
to federal wire fraud and arson charges.
Robert Wright, III, 32, formerly of Kemah, Texas, pleaded guilty before U.S.
Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell to conspiring to commit wire fraud
and conspiring to commit arson. At sentencing, Wright faces up to 20
years in federal prison on the wire fraud conspiracy count and 5 to 20 years in
federal prison on the arson conspiracy count.
information presented in court, Wright led a multi-jurisdictional fraud and arson
scheme that spanned from Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico and involved the
destruction of various assets, including vehicles, aircraft, and vessels.
Wright and his co-conspirators, Shane Gordon, 45, of Houston, Texas, Raymond
Fosdick, 41, of Houston, Texas, and Edward Delima, 41, of Honolulu, Hawaii,
acquired assets and obtained insurance coverage in amounts exceeding their
purchase prices. Wright and his co-conspirators then devised and carried
out schemes to destroy the assets and defraud insurance companies.
destroyed in the scheme included a 1966 Beechcraft Baron, a 2008 Lamborghini
Gallardo, a 1971 Cessna 500, and a 1998 Hunter Passage. The Beechcraft
Baron made an emergency landing in the Gulf of Mexico, sank in deep water, and
was not recovered. The Lamborghini Gallardo crashed into a ditch full of
water, causing the vehicle to flood. The Cessna 500 was completely
destroyed when Fosdick set it on fire at Wright’s direction at an airport in
Athens, Texas. The Hunter Passage sank in a marina in Hawaii.
Fraudulent insurance claims were filed in relation to each of these
incidents. Wright and his co-defendants also filed a fraudulent $1
million personal injury lawsuit related to the crash in the Gulf of
Mexico. The suit was settled for $100,000.
On May 17, 2017, Wright, Gordon, Fosdick, and Delima were
charged with various offenses related to their conduct in the scheme in the
Eastern District of Texas. Wright’s co-conspirators have all pleaded
guilty. On September 26, 2017, Delima pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit
wire fraud. On October 12, 2017, Fosdick pleaded guilty to conspiring to
commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit arson. On October 25, 2017,
Gordon pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal agent.
At sentencing, Delima faces up to 20 years in federal
prison. Fosdick faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud
conspiracy count and 5 to 20 years in federal prison on the arson conspiracy
count. Gordon faces up to 5 years in federal prison. Sentencing
dates have not been determined.
This case was investigated by the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It was prosecuted
by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld and L. Frank Coan, Jr.