By Jeff Fox
An Independence man faces federal charges in connection with alleged arson and insurance fraud at several homes in Kansas City.
Joshua Stamps, 26, is among six people facing a 19-count indictment handed up this week by a federal grand jury. Prosecutors say Stamps led the conspiracy in which he bought five homes, insured them for more than they were worth, had them burned and then made insurance claims.
Prosecutors say the loss to insurance companies was $434,938 and the total intended loss was almost $1.2 million.
Stamps and his wife also face a three-count indictment on federal gun charges.
In the fraud case, six people have been charged: Stamps and his mother, Randy Stamps, 55, of Independence, who prosecutors say was used as a straw owner for some of the homes, as well as John Stanley Wayne, 30, Michael Smith, 26, and Luis Esquivel, 48, all of Kansas City, and Roy Richard, 32, of Wichita, Kan.
The indictment says Stamps paid $6,000 to $15,000 for the homes and used the other co-conspirators as straw owners, as tenants so the homes could be considered rentals, and to commit arson. The homes were insured for $88,000 to $307,000. The insurance companies were told they had been renovated, were occupied and had valuable contents.
In addition to the conspiracy charges, there are other charges:
• 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 and Joshua Stamps are charged with two counts of arson and two counts of using fire to commit a federal crime. Prosecutors say Wayne’s pants were on fire as he ran from the arson at 4901 Agnes.
• Joshua Stamps and Smith are charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
• Richard and Esquivel are each charged with wire fraud, and Randy Stamps is charged with mail fraud.
• In a separate case, Joshua Stamps and his wife, Candice Loyd, 28, conspired to illegally possess two firearms, an indictment says. Stamps is a felon and cannot legally own firearms or ammunition.
The indictment says Loyd bought a Taurus 9mm pistol in 2008. When police searched their home, the indictment says, they found the Taurus and a second pistol, a .40-caliber Ruger, as well as ammunition, in a safe in the children’s bedroom. Loyd said the guns were hers, but she didn’t have the combination to the safe and then she told police that Stamps had access to the safe and had the combination, according to the indictment.