Mo. man pleads guilty in $500K fraud scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri man who conned a woman into giving him more than $500,000 for his tree-trimming business has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 40-year-old Kenneth Edward Godat, of Springfield, pleaded guilty Wednesday to an information charging him with evading taxes and federal reporting rules.

Prosecutors said Godat met the Springfield woman in September 2007 while doing work at her house. He told her his tree-trimming business was in line to be a subcontractor for a Tennessee company in federal disaster cleanup work.

Over a five-month period, the woman gave Godat more than $560,000 as an investment. But the Tennessee company never existed, and the paperwork Godat provided was phony.

Godat faces up to 10 years in prison plus a fine and an order of restitution.

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