I-Team Archives: The legend of Ted Binion’s buried treasure

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nye County detectives are looking for three men who were on a treasure hunt for casino executive Ted Binion’s silver and gold after he died.

They say the men have been sneaking onto the property and digging for it. 

The legend of Binion’s buried treasure has persisted since he died more than 20 years ago. His death is one of the most famous and notorious crimes in Nevada history.

Casino executive Ted Binion died in 1998. His death was controversial. It was ruled an overdose, then reclassified as homicide. Days after his death, more than 24 tons of silver bars he had stashed in a vault, in his Pahrump home, were stolen. 

His girlfriend Sandra Murphy and her other boyfriend Rick Tabish were tried for the murder of Ted Binion and burglary of the silver. They were convicted on the murder charges but later acquitted. The burglary and larceny convictions stuck.

Police also found a treasure map in Tabish’s apartment though there was just an empty hole where the X marked the spot. And in 2000 with the threat of criminal charges looming, the former ranch manager at Binion’s property tried to trade immunity in exchange for telling authorities where Binion’s buried diamonds and Double Eagle gold pieces were. Police dug where he told them but found nothing.

In 2010, the television news show 48 Hours looked for it. They used ground-penetrating radar that located 20 possible sites in the backyard. All came up empty.

The district attorney in 2000 was David Roger. He told the I-Team that he ranks the possibility of buried treasure on the ranch at about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

“We had metal detectors. We had a huge front loader and we just didn’t find anything. Maybe there is some silver out there and it has a lot of intrigue for sure,” Roger said.

Fast forward to now. Nye County deputies say one of the men caught on camera digging on the property on March 30 is Richard Cleaves who used to work on the Binion ranch. He was also trespassed from it while trying to dig in Jan. 2017. He told police that he read about the buried gold online.

(Surveillance video of the men on the property.)

Nye County sheriffs have released surveillance photos of the three suspects. They are encouraging anyone with information to contact them and the Nye County Sheriff’s Office at (775) 751-7000 or their email: sheriff@co.nye.nv.us

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