A Washington state life agent has been charged with fraud for having faked his own death as well as that of a client. According to authorities, the advisor submitted a phony death claim on a client’s life policy in order to pocket the proceeds. When the insurance company uncovered the fraud, the agent left his car with a suicide note inside parked on a bridge over an area known as Deception Pass. Prosecutors allege the advisor also sold life insurance and annuities to other clients. But instead of submitting and paying for the applications, he diverted client money to his personal bank accounts. In addition to staging two deaths, the agent sent confessions to several clients, signing the letters “Travis the scam man.” He was eventually arrested after returning from a trip to Scotland.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged a Florida advisor for running an astrology-based Ponzi scheme. The advisor apparently believed the Earth’s gravitational forces affected people’s tendency to buy and sell securities. Although the advisor falsely claimed to clients he could deliver investment returns of between 6% and 18%, he failed to tell them he planned to select debt, stock, futures, and real estate investments based on the effect of gravitational forces. The advisor raised $1 million from 14 investors, using Ponzi techniques to keep earlier investors satisfied. Overall, the advisor lost $400,000 in bad trades and diverted another $415,000 for personal expenses.

A Georgia investment advisor has gone into hiding after sending a 22-page confession to several individuals admitting he hid some $20 million in investor losses with false statements and returns. According to authorities, the advisor raised more than $40 million from some 100 investors. The clients, who resided mainly in Georgia and Florida, thought they were investing in traditional marketable securities. Instead, their money was going into his unregistered investment fund, into South American real estate, and into a questionable Georgia bank offering. To cover his tracks, the advisor sent clients account statements with fabricated account values and investment returns. 

For more from Harry Lew, see:

Caveat Emptor: 14 Ways to Check Out Your Vendors

The SEC Brings the Hammer to Rogue Advisors

The Low-Down on Investment Advisor State Registration