Pilot Lance Larabee also has a fiancÃ©e and convinces her to invest in his house
That’s not all White discovered. It appeared that during the five-and-a-half years of their “exclusive” relationship, Larabee was dating several other women. In fact, he had proposed marriage to one of them.
In documents filed with the Thurston County Court in Washington, the fiancÃ©e said Larabee owed her $9,038 and a car, which he borrowed “under the guise of an engagement to be married.” Her court filing included a copy of his promissory note for the cash, and a signed and notarized letter of understanding about the car. Larabee had stopped paying the promissory note and sold the car.
Plus, according to court documents, Larabee got another $90,000 from his fiancÃ©e that he used to build a new house in Blaine, Washington. According to White, Larabee once drove her by the construction site and asked what she thought of the house—without telling her that he was the owner.
The fiancÃ©e did get most of the $90,000 back—but only because she put liens on the new house in Blaine and on another house Larabee owned in Yelm, Washington. Property records show that she was paid as a second mortgage holder.
White had spent some of her visits with Larabee painting the house in Yelm. It did her no good. She never got any money out of the properties.
Claims for the money
Larabee had stopped taking White’s calls. So in February 2006, White filed a lawsuit against him to recover her money. She demanded $166,976, plus interest, attorney fees and costs. When White finally did get Larabee on the phone, she says he threw a temper tantrum.
“You’re a terrorist trying to blow up my life!” Larabee yelled, according to White.
“I blew up your life?” White asked. “What about what you did to my life?”
Larabee didn’t respond to the lawsuit and didn’t show up for the court date on March 23, 2006, so White won by default. She was awarded $232,972.
White took steps to put liens on Larabee’s properties. But he had already sold them, and the money was gone. The man had no assets. He did, however, have a job, and White filed a claim to garnish his wages.
White filed three more complaints in small claims court. Two were for $4,000—the small claim maximum—and one was for $1,147. The hearing was set for 5 p.m. on September 12, 2006 in Bellingham, Washington.
White offered to meet with Larabee before the hearing, and said if they could reach an agreement, she would withdraw the claims. So that morning, in a park by the airport, Larabee wrote out a new agreement by hand:
- Lance will provide a life insurance policy to Debbie, $175k for 10 yrs, 75k for balance.
- Lance will pay Debbie $1,000 a month for 10 years, $1,500 til balance paid off.
- No interest
- All previous garnishments, loans, small claims, liens, etc are considered to be void and this new note takes effect
- Debbie agrees to abide by the anti-harassment clause previously written in an earlier proposal
- The spirit of this agreement is to pay back Debbie [money] that Lance borrowed for a Bayliner boat, Cessna 210 plane, any misc debt.
White didn’t sign it and went to court that evening. Larabee also showed up. He testified that he didn’t remember their verbal agreements. Although the court decided White didn’t have evidence to prove the two of the claims, she did win one of them for $4,000.
But in their earlier meeting, White learned that Lance Larabee actually owned a car, and she decided to take it. On October 26, 2006, the Whatcom County sheriff seized Larabee’s vehicle, a 1999 Suzuki. Six weeks later White went to the sheriff’s auction and bought the car, which had 250,000 miles on it, for $2,000. She drove it back to Chicago where it sat in her garage for six months. She finally sold it for $1,200.
White admits she had questions about Larabee’s behavior throughout their relationship. “There were a lot of red flags, but he would explain them all away,” White says. “I didn’t have enough evidence to set my foot down and say, ‘he’s lying.'” Even though she suspected something was terribly wrong, she felt like she couldn’t walk away from Larabee, because all her money was tied up with the man.
“He always said he was slow pay, but he was giving me money,” White says. “I never thought his intention was never to pay me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that he was taking money from all these women and never paying it back.”
A search on the Washington Courts website lists 38 records related to Lance Larabee. (Click “Name Search” and type in “Larabee Lance.”) Included are complaints filed by three different women and Larabee’s ex-wife, to whom he owed child support.
White’s divorce settlement is gone. She sold the Bayliner cabin cruiser for $70,000—she had to come up with an additional $25,000 to pay off the bank loan. With that and other debts, White had to take out a mortgage for $118,000 on her new townhouse, which she had once owned free and clear. “That’s pretty much what he owes me for the airplane,” White says.
“This wasn’t some guy I met on the street or in a bar,” White says. “It was someone I worked with who knew me, and he took complete advantage of me.”
Letter to the editor
So White continues to garnish his salary. Every time she files a claim, which costs $300, she gets 25 percent of his earnings for 60 days. Then she has to file another claim.
White also talks about what happened to her, hoping to prevent other women from repeating her experience. She wrote a letter to the editor in the Whatcom Independent newspaper, although Larabee was identified only as a pilot who lived in Whatcom County. “Even though there was fraud, deception and manipulation involved, unfortunately there are no criminal charges because the money was voluntarily given to him,” she wrote.
Here’s how White ended her letter:
“As a public service I don’t want you to fall into the same trap I did. Unfortunately there are men that will exploit, both financially and emotionally, vulnerable women. In the end when you figure out what has happened, these men do not care what kind of financial situation they have left you with; or what kind of emotional rollercoaster they have left you on. They do think that you will be too embarrassed to speak up and tell anyone. I have spoken up and will continue to do so.”