February 7, 2023
A Lee’s Summit, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today in two separate indictments for leading an arson and insurance fraud conspiracy and a separate bank fraud conspiracy, and for illegally possessing firearms.
Wandale J. Fulton, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to a total of 15 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Fulton to pay $380,985 in restitution to the victims of his fraud schemes.
On Jan. 27, 2022, Fulton pleaded guilty 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.
Fulton led 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. In each arson, according to court documents, the fire was set in the middle of the night. First responders arrived to find these homes — in densely populated neighborhoods — engulfed in flames and burning out of control. Fulton’s scheme resulted in the total destruction of three houses by fire and the ruinous vandalism of his personal residence, all to support false claims on insurance policies.
Fulton’s scheme to burn or destroy homes for insurance proceeds resulted in an intended loss of approximately $740,000 and an actual loss of $336,756 paid by insurance companies. To perpetrate his scheme, Fulton required the assistance of accomplices and co-conspirators to participate as straw home buyers and renters, to create and submit false documents to the insurance companies, and to set fire to the homes. Four of his co-conspirators have been sentenced after pleading guilty to their role in the conspiracy.
Fulton also led another criminal conspiracy to receive fraudulent car loans from Heartland Community Credit Union. According to court documents, Heartland approved a series of loans totaling approximately $121,500 based on fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents submitted by conspirators from April to August 2018. In each instance, the applicant defaulted on the loan and Heartland was unable to contact or recover payment from the applicant. The loan applicants appeared to be unrelated, but each loan was for a car supposedly purchased from C.E. Sales, a company controlled by Fulton. 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 on March 26, 2019. During the search, agents found a Taurus .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun in a shoebox in the bedroom closet and an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 semi-automatic firearm in a backpack in a closet. Agents later found a Taurus 9mm pistol in a computer bag. Fulton, to avoid detection by law enforcement, utilized an accomplice to purchase at least two of the firearms recovered from his home.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Fulton has a prior felony conviction for manslaughter for his involvement in a fatal shooting.
These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brent Venneman and Nick Heberle.
They were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Lee’s Summit, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, and the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department.