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Springfield man sentenced to prison for tax fraud

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A Springfield man was sentenced in federal court yesterday to five years and 10 months in federal prison without parole for a scheme in which he defrauded a Springfield woman for more than $500,000, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Kenneth Godat, 40, also was ordered to pay $537,427 in restitution to the victim of the scheme.

In March, Godat admitted to stealing more than $500,000 from Sherry Honeycutt, who believed she was investing in Godat's business from Oct. 5, 2007-March 12, 2008. Godat met the victim in September 2007 while performing work on her home. He claimed that if Honeycutt contributed capital to finance equipment, salaries and other business-related expenses for his tree-trimming and debris-clearing business, it would be able to work as a subcontractor on Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief contracts, according to the release.

Godat said he would subcontract through a man named John Smitz doing business as Tennessee Tree Co., when in reality, neither the man nor the business existed. To obtain funds from Honeycutt, Godat presented her with false and fraudulent documents showing expenses on the business venture, including phony letters, bills-of-sale and contracts. On Oct. 23, 2007, Godat gave her $25,000 of her own money under the pretense of profits from the fictitious FEMA contracts.

Godat also said that he was aware banks are required to report financial transactions greater than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. To keep the banks from reporting the transactions and to hide income from the IRS, Godat enganged in or caused his victim to engage in a series of transactions below $10,000. Godat did not file tax returns for 2007 or 2008 that reported the income he received from the victim. As a result of his tax evasion, the government lost roughly $148,910, the release said.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich and was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Sentencing was delivered by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple.[[In-content Ad]]

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