Ted Bignon's Cursed Millions: Will the treasure hidden by the gambling magnate ever be found?Pictolic
Treasures are all associated with pirates, robbers and the affairs of bygone days. You will be surprised, but countless treasures are still hidden today, and the passions around them are boiling no worse than over the chest with Captain Flint's piastres. Ted Binyon's story of hidden riches is an excellent illustration of the modern adventurous passions around treasure, the existence of which is highly controversial.
In 1998, the body of Ted Bignon, the owner of one of the most popular gambling establishments in the city, Horseshoe Casino, was found in his home in Las Vegas. The tycoon was lying on the sofa in front of the TV in the peaceful pose of a resting person, and empty packages of sedatives were lying next to him.
In addition to the late Ted, his inconsolable roommate Sandy Murphy was in the luxurious mansion – it was she who called the police. The woman sobbed incessantly, wailed "He's not breathing!" and got in the way of coroners and police officers. Sandy couldn't explain anything intelligible, and all she could say was that Ted had killed himself.
Sandy and Ted
However, the examination of the body immediately cast doubt on her version. Binyon died a few hours before the police arrived, and while he was dead, his body was moved and turned over. The cops were sure that the millionaire did not die in front of the TV, since there were no traces of vomiting and disorder characteristic of drug poisoning caused by the inevitable convulsions.
The autopsy found a lethal cocktail of morphine, heroin, codeine, and sedatives in Ted's stomach, in a horse dose. The cohabitant of the deceased during interrogations proved that Binyon had long considered suicide. According to her, thoughts of suicide were associated with the loss of business, which occurred shortly before the death.
Due to the fact that the gambling magnate abused drugs, squandered money and had dubious criminal acquaintances, the shareholders removed him from the management of the casino, which immediately passed under the wing of Bignon's sister Becky, with whom he did not get along very well.
The late millionaire's sister, who bought out his share of the business, was convinced that Sandy was to blame for Ted's death. Binyon complained incessantly about his quarrels with his cohabitant during the last weeks of his life. Therefore, the police especially closely considered the version of the murder of a rich man by this woman. The interest was fueled by the story of Ted and Sandy's acquaintance and life together, which undoubtedly deserves attention.
Sandy Murphy appeared in Las Vegas three years before the events described as a vacationer. On the first day, the girl lost in one of the casinos 10 thousand dollars, which was all her savings and was left without a penny. On the advice of a friend, she got a job as a dancer in a strip club, hoping to meet a rich man who would solve her problems.
Incredibly, the impossible dream of thousands of provincial women came true just three days later. Ted Binyon and his friend Herbert "Fat Herbie" Blitzstein stopped by the club. Ted was the heir to the semi-criminal businessman Benny Bignon, who had made his fortune during prohibition. It was well known that Benny was associated with gangsters, and in addition, the rich man was twice suspected of murder. However, both times he managed to get away with it, thanks to acquaintances among prosecutors.
Ted Binyon was dad's favorite, and during the old man's lifetime he worked as the manager of the best casino in the Binyon empire – Horseshoe Casino. After Benny's death, the business passed to his beloved son, who gave up pretending to be a successful manager and devoted himself entirely to drinking and questionable relationships with women.
Together with the equally odious Fat Herbie, who collected tribute from the casino on behalf of the Chicago mobsters, Ted hung out in the vicinity of his establishment, meeting bored ladies without male attention and throwing money in front of them.
Binyon, who liked Sandy very much, tried to hand her $ 1,700, but the girl proudly rejected this handout, which especially pleased the millionaire. However, the new stripper did not break the comedy for a long time, and after a few days she left the club, and with a few belongings moved into Ted's mansion.
At that time, the gambling magnate was married, but his wife, after learning about another relationship of her husband, took her daughter and went to her homeland, Texas. Thus, in just two weeks, the life of young Sandy Murphy has changed radically. The 52-year-old rich man spoiled the girl as much as he could – she did not hesitate to spend his money and drove around the city in a rare Rolls-Royce of Bignon's father.
But the girl's happiness did not last long – after losing his business in 1998, Binyon began to particularly lean on alcohol and drugs, as well as beat his mistress. In addition, Ted became impotent, and 26-year-old Sandy needed sex. The couple now slept in separate rooms, and Murphy's budget was severely limited.
Fearing that her roommate would throw her out on the street without money, Sandy recorded his conversations and rummaged through his personal belongings, trying to collect dirt. Ted knew that, and it didn't help their relationship either. The girl managed to get Binyon to write her in the will, according to which she got a mansion for 300 thousand dollars, property in it, in the amount of about a million and another 300 thousand dollars in money to pay inheritance tax.
But it was a small part of the millionaire's fortune. Ted never trusted banks, so he always kept his money and valuables in the vaults of his own casino. When, by a court order, he was forbidden to appear even on the doorstep of the institution, he took all the treasures home and hid them in an underground bunker, which was prepared in advance.
Building a secret vault for valuables is a responsible task that can only be entrusted to people with an impeccable reputation. For Binyon, the 3-by-3-meter bunker was built by a man he met in a ... public toilet. 33-year-old Rick Tabish was relieving himself near a nearby urinal and the men, after exchanging a few words, decided to continue their acquaintance.
Bignon Ranch is located in Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada
In a very short time, Tabish became Ted's closest friend, and he trusted him completely. This confidence is evidenced by the fact that after the construction of the vault was completed, Binyon did not even change the password on the combination lock, which the cautious Tabish insisted on. Ted's new acquaintance also got along well with his mistress-Rick, at the request of the millionaire, often accompanied the woman on shopping trips.
On July 4, 1998, the Binyon treasure was loaded into a concrete underground bunker. These were several tons of silver bars, bagged bills, a huge number of game chips, and a collection of one hundred thousand rare coins, the value of which, according to various estimates, could be from 7 to 14 million dollars.
And just a couple of months later, on September 17, 1998, Ted died in his home under very suspicious circumstances.
This is the opinion of Tony Cook, one of the managers of Bignon Casino. The man had known Ted since childhood and had worked with him for many years.
Private detectives hired by Becky found out that Sandy and Tabish were having an affair. Shortly before the death of the tycoon, on September 11, the couple retired to a hotel room, rented, by the way, with Ted's money. This meeting, which took place far from home, in Beverly Hills, was not the only one.
The detectives also learned that Sandy, everywhere, from the companies of friends, to beauty salons, talked about how Binyon would soon take his own life, and she herself would become the owner of a large inheritance. Of course, all this information could not fail to alert the deceased's sister, lawyers, and, of course, the police.
The casinos have been making a very good income for the Binyons for more than 50 years
Binyon's body was still in the morgue, and there was already a suspicious commotion at his property in Pahrump. Just two days after the death of the millionaire, his neighbor called the police at night and reported that suspicious activity had been noticed on the Bignon property. There's a crane working in total darkness, trucks roaring and people talking.
The police squad that arrived to verify this information actually found on the estate of the deceased gambling magnate Rick Tabish, the manager of the estate of Dave Mattsen, a crane, an excavator and a van filled to the brim with bills and bullion. In his pockets, Rick had a catalog of rare coins, a piece of paper with a lock code written on it, and a love note from Sandy Murphy.
The company immediately went to give evidence at the police station, where Tabish was charged with trespassing and attempted robbery. A couple of days later, Rick was released, as Sandy posted bail for him. Having no money, the girl pawned her Mercedes, once given by Bignon and some jewelry.
But less than a year later, they were both behind bars – one of Tabish's friends let slip that he had offered him money for killing Ted with a sniper rifle. In July 1999, Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish were charged with murder, conspiracy, robbery, and burglary.
According to investigators, Sandy and Rick tied up a drunk Binyon, forced him to swallow drugs and medications, and then, in an unconscious state, strangled him and carried him to the sofa in front of the TV. According to the results of the forensic examination, before his death, the millionaire took at least 90 sedative pills and about 12 doses of heroin.
The couple was tried for several months and, as a result, Tabish and Murphy were sentenced to life in prison. Until 2003, they were behind bars, but then the court reviewed the case and, due to a lack of evidence, found the guilt of Rick and Sandy unproven. At the next meeting, the jury concluded that the lovers ' guilt consisted only in the fact that they took advantage of the magnate's suicide to take possession of his money and property.
Thus, Sandy Murphy was released after spending only 3 years in prison. Tabish, who was guilty of breaking into the vault and stealing valuables, served another 6 years and was released in 2010. The two men were no longer interested in Binyon's treasures.
The same can't be said for other treasure seekers who flocked like butterflies to the fire to hear rumors about Ted's unearthed valuables. The fact is that in the truck that Rick Tabish hired, there was not all the money and silver from the vault. The cargo from the back of the car and the rest of the money in the cache were inherited by Binyon's only daughter.
Rick Tabish in court
The fate of the collection of coins, silver bars and cash worth several million dollars remains unknown. Did Tabish manage to get them out in advance? Did the ranch manager, Dave Mattsen, hide it in a safe place? Or maybe they did not exist at all at the time of the millionaire's death – Binyon was quite capable of losing a huge amount in the shortest possible time. So far, nothing is known about the fate of the treasure.
Dave Mattsen, in an interview with the Pahrump Valley Times, said that at least $ 20 million is buried on the ranch, but no one knows whether this is true or not. In Tabish's belongings, the police found a map of the Binyon site with a cross, but excavations at this site did not bring any results.
In September 1999, while the main defendants in this murky case were in custody, someone made a small excavation on the ranch, leaving several shallow holes. In 2000, one of the employees of the Bignon ranch told the police that he knew where the treasure was. The police started digging again, but the tycoon's money wasn't there either.
In 2002, someone destroyed Ted's daughter's playhouse on the ranch. The light structure was completely dismantled, and a pit appeared in its place. The examination showed that this attempt of unknown people to find the treasure was futile. James Brown, Bignon's lawyer, argues that the area of the ranch is such that without knowing the place where the treasure is hidden, you can dig forever.
Richard Cleeves-Unlucky Treasure Hunter caught in April 2019
Not all treasure hunters manage to remain incognito. In April 2019, 56-year-old Richard Cleaves, who lived in the neighborhood, was caught at a ranch in Pahrump. He, with two like-minded people, was digging the ground on the ranch, trying to find the missing money. Cleeves ' associates managed to escape, and he himself got into serious trouble – the man is accused of breaking and entering, attempted theft and vandalism.
Is it really, you ask, at the current level of technology development, it is impossible to find such a volume of bullion and coins with the help of equipment? Such an attempt was made in 2010, when journalists were shooting a film about the death of Binyon. Then the ranch was explored up and down with the help of ground-penetrating radar and found nothing.