Six Indicted for Arson, Insurance Fraud Scheme, Independence Couple also Charged with Illegal Firearms
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that six individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in an arson and insurance fraud conspiracy. One of the conspirators has also been indicted separately, along with his wife, in a conspiracy to illegally possess firearms.
USA v. Stamps, et al
Joshua Stamps, 26, of Independence, Mo., his mother, Randy Stamps, 55, John Stanley Wayne, 30, Michael Smith, 26, and Luis Esquivel, 48, all of Kansas City, Mo., and Roy Richard, 32, of Wichita, Kan., were charged in a 19-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon the arrests and initial court appearances of several defendants.
The federal indictment alleges Joshua Stamps led an arson and insurance fraud conspiracy between 2007 and 2013 in which he bought houses, insured them for more than they were worth, had them burned and made insurance claims on the burned houses. Stamps and his co-conspirators allegedly bought, insured, and burned five houses in Kansas City, Mo. The total actual loss to insurance companies in the scheme was $434,938, while the total intended loss was almost $1.2 million.
According to the indictment, Stamps bought houses costing from $6,500 to $15,000, using Randy Stamps and Smith as straw owners for three of the houses. Other co-conspirators helped commit the arsons and/or acted as tenants so the properties could be classified as rentals. Stamps and his co-conspirators then insured the houses for much more than the purchase price, the indictment says, in amounts from $88,000 to $307,000. Stamps and his co-conspirators allegedly made false statements on the insurance applications, claiming that the houses were rented and/or occupied, that there were valuable contents in the houses, and that the houses had been renovated. Stamps, Wayne, and other co-conspirators allegedly set fire to the houses. The listed owner of the house that burned would then claim a total loss with the applicable insurance company and would falsely claim they had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the fire.
In addition to the conspiracy, Joshua Stamps is charged with five counts of using fire to commit a federal crime, four counts of arson, four counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.
John Wayne is also charged with Joshua Stamps in two counts of using fire to commit a federal crime and two counts of arson. According to the indictment, Wayne’s pants were on fire as he ran from the arson at 4901 Agnes, so he took them off and left them in the street. Michael Smith is also charged with Joshua Stamps in one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Richard is also charged with wire fraud. Randy Stamps is also charged with mail fraud. Luis Esquivel is also charged with wire fraud.
USA v. Stamps, Loyd
Joshua Stamps and his wife, Candice Loyd, 28, were charged in a separate and unrelated three-count indictment that was also returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013.
The federal indictment alleges that Stamps and Loyd, who were not married at the time, participated in a conspiracy to illegally possess two firearms from June 2, 2008, to April 9,2013. The purpose of the conspiracy was for Loyd to obtain firearms for Stamps, who could not legally own firearms due to his felony conviction.
The indictment alleges that Loyd bought a Taurus 9mm pistol on June 2, 2008. When Kansas City police officers executed a search warrant at the residence of Stamps and Loyd, the indictment says, they found the Taurus 9mm pistol as well as a Ruger .40-caliber pistol inside a safe in the children’s bedroom. Loyd initially claimed to be the owner of the firearms, according to the indictment. Loyd did not have a combination to the safe, the indictment says, and eventually told police that Stamps had access to the safe and the combination to the safe. When officers forced the safe open, they recovered the two firearms and ammunition.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. In addition to the conspiracy, Stamps and Loyd are each charged in two counts of the indictment with aiding and abetting each other for Stamps, who has a prior felony conviction, to possess a firearm.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen D. Mahoney. They were investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.