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Billie Sol Estes
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (January 10, 1925-May 14, 2013)
    Born in Alanreed, Texas
    Financier and conman
    Served six years on mail fraud charges (1965-71)
    Served four years for mail fraud and tax evasion (1979-83)
    He came up with a scheme to sell nonexistent storage tanks to farmers and lease back the tanks from the farmers.
    He then used the mortgages on the fake tanks as collateral to obtain $20-30 million worth of bank loans.
    As his scheme started unravelling, his accountant, two business associates and a US Department of Agriculture investigator all died under suspicious circumstances. (Such as the USDA official turning up dead with five bullet wounds, which was initially ruled a suicide.)
    He ripped off the Church of Christ schools he was supposed to be serving as a financial advisor.
    While still on parole from his first fraud conviction, he was arrested for almost the exact same swindle, except it used non-existent oil field cleaning equipment.
    A Texas banker told 'Time,' 'The sad part is, he could have been an honest millionaire instead of a broke crook.'
    He was married to Patsy Estes for 54 years until her death.
    He was named one of America's Ten Outstanding Young Men by the US Junior Chamber of Commerce (1953).
    Fancying himself something of a Robin Hood figure, he paid college tuitions for hundreds of poor students.
    One of his victims said, 'I was very impressed by him, and I still am, but in a different way. The man is the world's best salesman.'
    When he suspected his phone was being tapped, he decided to have some fun with the feds by telling a friend over the phone a location on his ranch where he claimed to have buried the loot from his schemes. A couple of days later, federal agents began digging at the spot, and uncovered the dead cat he had buried there years before.

Credit: C. Fishel

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