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Update - Fake-death boater snared in bank fraud

Texas man who faked his death in a barge accident picked up by U.S. Marshals on unrelated felony

The man who faked his own death in a 2003 boating accident in Galveston Bay, Texas, faces federal charges of bank fraud in connection with a $4 million loan.

Larry Michael Nixon, 55, disappeared for several months after his 40-foot go-fast boat, Living Extra Fast, collided with a barge in the Houston shipping channel Aug. 27, 2003 (Soundings, April 2004). Authorities say Nixon, who had a penchant for fast boats, staged the accident, and that his company, Delta Crane in Houston, Texas, was in debt for $4 million to $5 million. Nixon was found in January 2004 living in Weatherford, Texas, under an assumed name. He was arrested then on an unrelated felony fraud warrant from West Virginia.

U.S. Marshals arrested Nixon Nov. 16 upon his release from state custody, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. He was returned to Houston to face the criminal charge filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, based on an FBI investigation.

Federal authorities say Nixon’s company was issued a $4 million line of credit by Minnwest Bank Center in Montevideo, Minn., to buy used cranes. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston, Nixon was required to submit the invoice containing a description and serial numbers of the cranes purchased. However, according to the prosecutors, Nixon conspired with another company, Rhino Machinery and Rental, and provided false information to the bank on several occasions beginning in 2002 through February 2003.

Specifically, according to authorities, Nixon sent a letter to MinnWest Bank on Feb. 28, 2003, requesting a wire transfer of $380,000 to Rhino Machinery in Sealy, Texas, as payment for the purchase of a 1982 Link belt crane. The bank wired the money to Rhino, which transferred the money (minus a commission) to Nixon’s business account.

Officials at the bank reportedly became suspicious of several transactions after an independent inspector was unable to verify the purchases, and had difficulty reaching Nixon.

No date for a Houston court appearance has been set as yet.