- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A western Missouri man has admitted leading a conspiracy to buy cheap houses and set them on fire to collect nearly $435,000 in insurance benefits.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says 27-year-old Joshua Stamps, of Independence, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges alleging arson and insurance fraud.

Prosecutors said Stamps and his co-conspirators bought five Kansas City houses at prices ranging from $6,500 to $15,000 but insured them for as much as $307,000. After setting the houses on fire, the conspirators filed claims for insurance payments.

The scheme went on from 2007 through 2013.

Stamps’ plea agreement requires him to pay a judgment of nearly $435,000. He also faces 10 to 25 years in prison without parole. A sentencing date will be set later.

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