Real Name: Ray William Olson
Aliases: Bob Johnson
Wanted For: Fraud
Missing Since: 1989
Details: Ray Olson bilked more than $8 million from 200 investors in a horse racing scam. Olson and his wife, Linda Morgan, were regulars at horse racing tracks in Shreveport, Louisiana. Most of his acquaintances and investors believed that he owned WinRight Farms in nearby Benton, Louisiana. However, the farm was simply a "come-on" for Olson's real company Commodities Trading. Olson had a reputation as a winner in the commodities market; he soon had several employees working for him, such as John Holt, a salesman. John was one of the company's investors.
WinRight Farms was well-known for rehabilitating injured horses. In the summer of 1988, Texas widow Doris Blair had one of her injured horses rehabilitated at the farm. She was impressed at how well they took care of her horse. Eight months later, Doris's horse won its first race; Olson wanted Doris to keep her horses at his farm. At first, she was not sure if she had enough money. However, he told her that he had the "perfect" investment plan for her.
He claimed that if she invested $150,000 with him, he would guarantee her $2,500 per month. He told her that she "couldn't lose" with her investment and that if he was going to lose money in the stock market, he could take it out before the end of the day. Within a month, she had written two checks totaling $150,000 to Olson in order to board her horses. This was the bulk of her life savings.
In September of 1988, Dr. Charles Oakes met with Olson. He brought along a friend who was a commodities expert. At first, he was skeptical about Olson and his company. However, Olson explained that his daily "in-and-out" trading system was a closely guarded secret, entrusted to him by an elderly financial wizard in Chicago. He told Charles that he had to follow the system exactly or else he would lose his money. Olson was able to convince Charles and his friend to invest $200,000.
During 1987 and 1988, Olson brought in 183 investors who gave him $2.5 million. However, by the beginning of 1989, his scheme began to fall apart when an investor named Steve Casteen wanted his money back. John Holt had recommended Steve to invest in Olson's company. Steve told John that he did not trust Olson, so he also became suspicious.
Charles told a stockbroker friend about Olson. The friend decided to check into Olson's credentials. He contacted a lawyer who told him that Olson was a scam artist who had previously spent time in prison for other scams. Charles and his commodities friend confronted Olson in Dallas. He told them that they would get their money back soon, but they never did.
Doris Blair's monthly payments stopped arriving in January of 1989. He told her that he had re-invested her money. However, she said she wanted to continue getting the monthly payments. He told her that he would send it to her via Federal Express; however, she never received it. She called him almost every day for two months. Finally, she went to WinRight Farms and found that Olson was gone. She soon learned that he had never owned the farm, but only rented it.
After leaving Louisiana, Olson turned up in Colorado Springs, under the assumed name "Bob Johnson" where he also tried to steal money from investors with a bogus commodity scheme. He and his wife, Linda Morgan, have since disappeared.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the August 30, 1995 episode.
Results: Captured. A viewer recognized Ray Olson and Linda Morgan as a couple who had rented his sister's beach house in Oregon. FBI agents arrested Morgan at the viewer's sister's beach house in Oregon. The house was staked out for several hours. When Olson returned that afternoon, he was also arrested.
Olson pleaded guilty to money laundering and fraud. He was later sentenced to 87 months in prison, and ordered to pay over $6 million in restitution to the victims of his scams. Ray Olson died in 2010.