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Florida Man Friday: Con Man Scams Underwater Treasure Hunter Out of Thousands of Dollars and More

Late in 2018, one underwater treasure hunter in Melbourne Beach, Florida made the discovery of a lifetime when he found Mike Torres, a 37-year-old Army Ranger, cryptocurrency millionaire, systems engineer, coder, doctorate of aeronautical engineering holder AND adjunct professor at MIT. Remarkable resume, right? Almost unbelievable, right?  Not for a treasure hunter whose job title carries the connotation of a gullible idiot.  

Mike Torres met someone from Seafarer Exploration, the Tampa based treasure hunting company at a bar in Melbourne, where he promised he could build a revolutionary machine to help the exploration company find and recover millions of dollars worth of gold and silver from a 300-year-old shipwreck buried in the seafloor.  

He was later introduced to CEO Kyle Kennedy and Diver Michael Ware who, in the lawsuit and some interviews, have recounted a late night with Torres telling them stories of his tours in Afghanistan, multiple medals he has been awarded, millions worth of cryptocurrency and his work with military contractors.  He claimed to have created top-secret technology for the military that he could use his expertise from to help Seafarer build new technology for expeditions. Ware was already skeptical, but Kennedy, being the boss, had the final say and was very impressed with Torres. In October of that same year, Seafarer announced they had hired Torres as a treasure hunter and boasted about his resume to the public.  Just three months later, Torres made a HUGE discovery.  

Neat! 

Super cool! 

Torres, looking like a Wal-mart brand Indiana Jones, credited his find to the help of the dive team and specialist at Seafarer, who at this point, were already suspicious of Torres as well.  With the Peruvian mask being plastered all over Florida News outlets, Seafarer officials attempted to disassociate themselves and never claimed any participation or ownership.  Diver Mike Ware said before Torres discovered the mask, Seafarer officials had a meeting with newly hired scientists and the rest of the board where they discovered that Torres actually doesn't know shit.  

“There’s this meeting, and Mike [Torres] is up there writing on a whiteboard all this stuff and he’s shouting like, ‘Oh! Oh! I have it!’ It looked like something from Big Bang Theory,” … “I’m sitting there thinking, wow, this guy’s a genius. Then the real geniuses pull us aside privately afterward and tell us that wasn’t an equation, it was gibberish." Ware said.  

In addition to his field experience, Torres claimed he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Citadel and a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from Duke University.  Neither of which turned out to be true, as The Citadel released that Torres failed out with a 1.3 GPA and as for Duke…they offer no such degree and never have. The Air Force also chimed in, releasing their records that show Torres was forced out for poor academic performance as well. From there, it's pretty easy to assume that he has never been a professor in any capacity at MIT.  

Torres told The Tampa Bay Times it was Kennedy who’d boosted his resume to make the company look better and that he never claimed to be an Army veteran or have a doctorate.  Stuck in a web of his own of lies, Torres went on to say that he did in fact earn a degree from The Citadel and serve in the Air Force.  

Last week, Seafarer filed a lawsuit against Torres asking for him to pay back $96,583 in wages, $6,986 charged to a company expense account, and more than 61 million shares of Seafarer stock worth around $520,000. 

Get the full story covered on today's episode below and catch all-new episodes Monday-Friday.  Your daily dose of News Cocaine.  

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