A plea deal has brought a swift conclusion to the legal case against Theodore R. Wright III and three of his accomplices, who were charged in July with a massive insurance fraud scheme involving airplanes, a $100,000 sports car and a luxury boat.
The highest profile crime involved the 2012 ditching of a Beech Baron in the Gulf of Mexico, the aftermath of which Wright filmed on his iPad while floating in the water before being rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter. He later recounted a story about smoke in the cockpit and the harrowing ditching in an interview on the Today show.
Wright received an $85,000 insurance payment for the plane, more than twice what he paid for it. Similar schemes involved a Citation business jet that was set on fire, a Lamborghini that Wright crashed into a water-filled ditch and the intentional sinking of a sailboat at a marina in Hawaii, authorities charged.
Wright, who had become a minor Facebook and Instagram celebrity for videos and photos portraying him living a lavish aviation-infused lifestyle, now faces up to 40 years in federal prison. Before he was charged with the fraud-related crimes, Wright posted photos of himself flying his Learjet, shooting military style guns from a helicopter and performing aerobatics in his L-39 jet in a tuxedo.