Home Business KC-area man sold real estate, rental equipment he did not own

KC-area man sold real estate, rental equipment he did not own

by Kianna Warburton

A Kansas City-area man has been sentenced to 17 years in federal prison without parole for two fraudulent schemes, according to the United States Attorney. Jeremy Ace Woods, 46, was found guilty of selling rental equipment and real estate that did not belong to him, scamming unsuspecting victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the rental equipment scheme, Woods stole around 96 pieces of rental equipment valued at approximately $999,077 from 25 different rental companies. He then sold at least 41 pieces of equipment to 15 victims across the Midwest, including buyers from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. These victims paid Woods a total of $188,100 for the stolen equipment.

Woods used deceptive tactics, such as aliases and lies, to establish sexual and employment relationships with multiple individuals. He exploited these relationships by persuading them to rent equipment on his behalf, using their real names and banking information. Once Woods obtained the equipment, he posted it for sale on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, using various aliases. This scheme had a damaging financial impact on the straw renters, rental companies, and victim buyers, many of whom were small business owners. It resulted in substantial losses, affecting victims’ credit scores, retirement savings, education funds, and other savings.

Some of the stolen rental equipment mentioned in court documents include a Boxer skid steer from Home Depot in Olathe, Kan., a Bobcat skid steer from United Rentals in Olathe, and a Toro Dingo TX 1000 compact utility loader from Colman Equipment in Smithville, Mo. In addition to the rental equipment scheme, Woods also exploited a woman with an intellectual disability, tricking her into purchasing various items for him, including a truck, multiple trailers, and smartphones. He even used her money to buy a $3,500 engagement ring for himself based on false promises of marriage.

In the real estate scheme, Woods fraudulently sold 12 homes he did not own between September 2021 and February 2022. He targeted homes going through the foreclosure process, many of which were owned by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead of fulfilling his maintenance contracts, Woods posed as the owner of a real estate company and sold the properties to unsuspecting buyers. He used aliases with each victim and collected large down payments and monthly installment payments. In total, Woods received $183,000 in down payments and monthly installments, with victims also spending approximately $33,777 on home remodeling. These fraudulent sales led to an actual loss of $216,777.

Among the homes fraudulently sold by Woods was a residence in Shawnee, Kan. Similar to the rental equipment scheme, this real estate fraud had severe financial consequences for numerous victims, affecting their solvency, retirement plans, living arrangements, and credit availability.

The intended loss for both schemes amounted to $2,229,177, while the actual loss reached $900,896. Woods pleaded guilty to three counts of travel fraud, representing instances where he manipulated his victims into crossing state lines as part of the scams.

Woods has a lengthy criminal history, with 31 prior felony convictions, including numerous fraud convictions related to the current case. At the time of his arrest in May 2022, he was on probation in four separate Missouri counties and had pending cases in four other counties. He had also been convicted of 25 misdemeanors and had his probation or parole revoked 15 times. Furthermore, he had an active warrant for escaping custody in Lyon County, Kansas.

The sentencing of Jeremy Ace Woods serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution when entering into financial transactions. It also underscores the consequences that individuals like Woods can inflict on unwitting victims. The justice system has acted in holding him accountable for his fraudulent actions, sending a strong message that such schemes will not go unpunished.

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