When committing arson, it’s best not to set your pants on fire.
By MATT CAMPBELL
The Kansas City Star
Yet a federal indictment unsealed Friday contends that’s just what happened to a man accused in an arson and insurance fraud scheme.
The U.S. attorney’s office said John Stanley Wayne of Kansas City managed to set his own pants on fire while torching a house at 4901 Agnes Ave., forcing the 30-year-old to take the trousers off and leave them in the street as he ran away.
It is not clear how much of a role that played in the Kansas City police investigation that led to criminal charges this week against Wayne and five other people.
The indictment alleges that the scheme to insure rundown properties for more than they were worth and then to burn them for insurance payouts was led by Joshua Stamps, 26, of Independence.
Also indicted were Stamps’ mother, Randy Stamps, 55; Michael Smith, 26; and Luis Esquivel, 48, all of Kansas City. Roy Richard, 32, of Wichita, also was charged in the indictment, which was unsealed after the arrests and first court appearances of several of the defendants.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Stamps and his co-conspirators bought, insured and burned five houses in Kansas City between 2007 and 2013.
The houses were purchased for between $6,500 and $15,000 and insured for between $88,000 and $307,000.
The defendants allegedly made false statements on the insurance applications that the houses had been renovated and were rented with valuable contents inside. The loss to the insurance companies totaled nearly $435,000.
The charges include conspiracy, arson, fraud and money laundering.
In an unrelated indictment, Joshua Stamps and his wife, Candice Loyd, 28, were charged in a conspiracy to illegally possess firearms.
The government alleges Loyd bought two pistols for Stamps because he had a felony conviction and was not allowed to own firearms.
Police found a 9 mm pistol and a .40-caliber pistol inside a safe in a child’s bedroom. Loyd initially claimed to be the owner of the weapons but, according to the indictment, she eventually told police that Stamps had the combination to the safe.