Eden Prairie man who faked his own death sentenced to prison


An Eden Prairie man who staged an elaborate suicide scene to avoid a prison sentence in a multimillion-dollar insurance fraud case is finally going to serve time, the Star Tribune reports.

Travis Scott, 36, was sentenced to 12 years and eight months in prison on Monday in St. Paul, despite a plea for compassion and a lesser sentence.

The Pioneer Press reports Scott claimed in 2008 that his supercomputer business was struck by lightning and his equipment was ruined, and went on to collect an $11.8 million insurance claim.

He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in May of 2011 in connection with those claims, and was facing a sentence of five to 10 years in federal prison – which he hoped to avoid by staging his own death.

In the fake suicide plot, Scott was said to have ground up some of his wisdom teeth, drew several pints of his own blood and pulled strands of hair out of his head before mixing up some of the materials in a bag. He put the contents in a stocking cap with a bullet hole in it, giving the appearance that he shot himself in a canoe while on Lake Mille Lacs in September 2011.

Authorities say Scott also wrote a fake suicide note to claim he had weighed himself down to drown himself if the gunshot didn't work.

Learning of Scott's pending sentence in the fraud case, investigators smelled a ruse and launched an investigation into his death.

Authorities caught up with Scott – who flew to Canada in a private plane and created a new identity – after he was arrested on suspicion of trying to use forged prescriptions at a Winnipeg pharmacy.

Scott was serving time in a Canadian jail before being transferred to the Sherburne County Jail in October.

The Pioneer Press says prosecutors were seeking 16 years in prison for Scott, saying he was a "person with limitless capacity for deceit."

A private investigator tells Bankrate that faked death claims are rare and very difficult to get away with. Most often fake death cases are tied into life insurance cases, the site says.

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