A $400,000 hoax: Florida man’s elaborate attempt to fake own death fails

Caity Stone

Reports have surfaced a US man rented a boat, smeared his blood over the deck and abandoned it at sea in a bid to fool authorities into believing he was deceased.

Richard Ohrn then reportedly boarded an inflatable vessel before creeping six miles back to a nearby shore and hid from authorities and society, according to Georgia Newsday.

He had meticulously built a perfect crime scene on board the abandoned boat.

He left his wallet, mobile phone and his car keys on the vessel, according to reports.

Richard Winsor Ohrn faked his own disappearance in Florida. Source: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Richard Winsor Ohrn faked his own disappearance in Florida. Source: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The boat was reportedly hired under his name and steered far enough out to sea that there were no witnesses.

Police located Ohrn’s car at a marina not far from where the 44-year-old started his original journey in his 19-foot boat, according to online reports.

When news of Ohrn’s disappearance first broke authorities launched a lengthy and expensive search that failed to discover any additional evidence.

It appeared that the 44-year-old male had simply vanished.

His family soon broke their silence and spoke to media about the missing man begging the public to some forward with any information.

“We’re in shock,” Ohrn’s mother Patricia reportedly told media outlets at the time.

“I’m hoping they find him.”

“He’s a strong swimmer and a certified scuba diver,” Ohrn’s father, also named Richard, said.

Different reasons about why Ohrn reportedly faked his own death have surfaced.

His wife reportedly said at the time that he was being sued for $400,000 by a bank that once employed him.

Investigators believe he moored a rented motor boat off Boyton Beach Inlet. Source: Google Maps.
Investigators believe he moored a rented motor boat off Boyton Beach Inlet. Source: Google Maps.

Ohrn is also reportedly accused of stealing thousands of dollars from elderly clients while working as a financial adviser.

However authorities soon learned Ohrn had purchased a second truck weeks before he went missing leading them to believe it was a getaway vehicle.

With mounting evidence not quite adding up and media reports suggesting the disappearance was an elaborate hoax Ohrn simply appeared again, walking back into the home he shared with his wife.

On April 12, 2015, Ohrn called police to tell them his wild tale of blood, boats and his disappearance.

According to police reports, he admitted to “planning and carrying out his disappearance to escape legal issues”.

On Thursday, Ohrn was reportedly charged and now he remains behind bars ahead of his upcoming trial.

It’s unclear if Ohrn will be asked to repay search-related expenses totalling almost $400,000.

Ohrn’s parents say they’re just thankful their son is safe.

“Whatever his punishment is, hopefully he learns his lesson and becomes a better person,” Mrs Ohrn told Georgia Newsday.

News break – March 3