S606: The Treasure Hunter part 1
Play • 41 min

A Florida treasure-hunting CEO says he was tricked by a conman.

Seafarer Exploration, a treasure salvage company, has spent the last 13 years trying to find a 300-year-old Spanish galleon sunken off the coast of Florida. A galleon is a large sailboat, with multiple leveled decks, and 3 or 4 masts. These ships were designed to carry large treasures found in the new world and bring them back to Spain. 

Lost treasure

In 1715, a Spanish fleet loaded up with silver departed from Havana, Cuba. Seven days later, a hurricane off the east coast of central Florida swooped in and took down eleven of the twelve ships. Hence, the reason they call this part of Florida the treasure coast. 

But as you can imagine, trying to find the mother load buried underneath the ocean is like finding a needle in a haystack. If Seafarer Exploration has any chance of finding this treasure, they are going to need to find someone who can build a ship that is powerful enough to scan the ocean floor. Imagine a giant floating metal detector that can capture high-resolution images of the seabed. That's when Kyle Kennedy, CEO of Seafarer Exploration, met a man who said, "Sure. I can build you this machine." His name was Dr. Michael Torres.  

Kyle Kennedy claims that Michael Torres presented himself as an aeronautical engineer who graduated with a doctorate degree from Duke University. Torres also said he taught at MIT Draper labs and represented the NSA while also working on multiple classified government contracts. Kyle Kennedy couldn't believe it. This Dr. Michael Torres guy was perfect! And on top of an unbelievable resume, Kennedy says that Dr. Torres was a wounded war hero, who served two tours in Afghanistan. He was even awarded the Purple Heart medal. 

The lawsuit

Fast-forward a few years later, Kyle Kennedy is now suing Michael Torres for fraud. He says Michael Torres is a con artist who faked his credential. 

So, who is this guy? Dr. Michael Torres? I'm going to track him down to find out if he really is who they say he is. It turns out that the conman in this story is not who you would expect.


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