A Lee’s Summit, Missouri, man has pleaded guilty in federal court to leading an arson and insurance fraud conspiracy and to illegally possessing firearms. Wandale J. Fulton, 40, pleaded guilty on Thursday, Jan. 27, to one count of conspiracy to use fire in the commission of wire and mail fraud, one count of arson in the commission of a federal felony, and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Fulton also pleaded guilty to the charge contained in a separate federal indictment, one count of being a felon in possession of firearms.
By pleading guilty, Fulton admitted that he participated in an arson and insurance fraud conspiracy from 2013 through 2019. Fulton and co-conspirators bought houses in Kansas City, Mo., insured them, had them burned or vandalized, and then filed insurance claims on the houses. The conspirators made false claims on insurance applications, such as claiming the houses were rented or occupied, that there were valuable contents in the houses, and that the houses had been renovated. After obtaining insurance, a co-conspirator would set fire to the house. The homeowner would then claim a total loss with the insurance company.
Additionally, Fulton admitted that he and his co-conspirators submitted fraudulent loan applications to Heartland Community Credit Union. They presented fraudulent bills of sale for automobiles to Heartland to obtain loans for purchasing cars. The plea agreement cites four fraudulent automobile loans obtained by Fulton and his associates from the credit union, ranging from $18,300 to $25,000. In each of those instances, Heartland issued a check to the loan applicant and the checks were delivered directly to Fulton, who deposited them into his own bank account.
ATF agents executed a search warrant at Fulton’s residence in March of 2019 where they found several firearms including a Taurus .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, and Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 semi-automatic firearm, as well as a Taurus 9mm pistol.
Fulton has a prior felony conviction for manslaughter, which means that under federal law, Fulton’s possession of any firearm is illegal.
Four of Fulton’s co-conspirators have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Fulton is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a mandatory consecutive sentence of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
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