Seattle – Stephen Baird, the former CEO of S-Ray, Inc., was indicted today by a federal grand jury for ten counts of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Between 2012 and 2021, Baird, 67, formerly of Bainbridge Island, Washington, allegedly defrauded over 200 investors of more than $10.7 million by making false statements to investors. Baird is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on February 16, 2023.
“Mr. Baird is charged with defrauding investors for over a decade, falsely claiming that his company was on the cusp of making millions of dollars by selling a product that, in fact, never existed,” said United States Attorney Nick Brown. “Instead of developing the device, he is charged with secretly diverting investor funds to his own personal use, such as a private residence and a luxury car. It’s time to hold Mr. Baird accountable.”
Over many years, Baird claimed S-Ray had developed an innovative ultrasound device that would take the place of X-rays, allowing dentists to quickly and safely image patients’ mouths. Baird told investors the device delivered “astonishing results” and that the FDA had granted the company “market clearance” to sell the device. In fact, S-Ray never developed any ultrasound product capable of producing usable dental images; was never close to offering any product for sale; and never received FDA authorization to market any products.
By December 2017, Baird had terminated almost all of S-Ray’s employees. By April 2019, the Chief Technology Officer, the last remaining employee, left the company. Despite the fact that the company was essentially shut down, Baird told investors as late as 2020 that the company was worth $400 million. Baird continued to solicit investments – primarily from dentists and orthodontists – until March 2021.
Despite his representations that the investor money would be used to bring a product to market, at least 62% of the money – some $6.7 million – was used for Baird’s personal expenses or that of his family.
By the end of 2021, S-Ray had only $13,000 in its corporate account. Baird’s investors lost all of their investments.
Five of the counts of wire fraud are for emails sent or approved by Baird that were sent to investors. The other five wire fraud counts relate to deposits of investment funds.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil securities fraud action against Baird and S-Ray in March, 2022. On January 6, 2023, the Honorable John Chun issued an order that imposed civil penalties against Baird and S-Ray, held them liable for disgorgement of investment funds, and enjoined Baird from serving as an officer or director of certain companies, or from participating in certain types of securities transactions.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.