Kemah Man, 3 Others Charged In Wire Fraud and Airplane Arson
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A 32-year-old Kemah man pleaded guilty in federal court this week for conspiring to commit wire fraud and commit arson in a fire at Athens Municipal Airport. 

In September 2014, the Athens Fire Department was alerted to an airplane on fire at the airport. Reports show that Carroll Dyson, owner of Dyson Aviation, noticed the Cessna 500s cockpit on fire when he arrived. Athens Fire Marshal Ronnie Denton and Henderson County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg investigated the case. The plane had been at the airport for about two weeks.


Denton said part of the investigation was to determine why the plane was in Athens.


According to information presented in court, Theodore Robert Wright III 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, Raymond Fosdick, 41, of Houston, and Edward Delima, 41, of Honolulu, 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.


The assets 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 the Athens airport. The Hunter Passage sank in a marina in Hawaii.

Fraudulent insurance claims were filed in each of these incidents. Wright and his co-defendants also filed a fraudulent $1 million personal-injury lawsuit in the crash in the Gulf of Mexico. The suit was settled for $100,000.


On May 17, 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 pleaded guilty. On Sept. 26, Delima pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud. On Oct. 12, Fosdick pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit arson. On Oct. 25, 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 for wire fraud conspiracy and five to 20 years in federal prison on the arson conspiracy count. Gordon faces up to five 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.


Wright entered his plea  pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.

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