Kansas City payday loan tycoon gets 1 year in prison for $7.5 million bankruptcy fraud

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A Kansas City payday loan business owner was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to spend one year plus a day in prison after pleading guilty to filing a false bankruptcy claim as he sought to offload $7.5 million in debt.

Del Hodges Kimball, 54, pleaded guilty in January to a single count of bankruptcy fraud. In addition to his prison time, Kimball is ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said.

Authorities alleged he spent two years lying about his financial position while holding on to assets he secretly owned to avoid paying back his lenders. In his plea, Kimball admitted his scheme was concocted to defraud the bankruptcy court by concealing assets, bank accounts and making false statements, federal prosecutors said.

Acting U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore said the bankruptcy system Kimball admitted to exploiting relies on the honesty, openness and accuracy of those in debt seeking a fresh start.

“This defendant made a mockery of the system in the hope that he could discharge over $7.5 million in debt while maintaining a luxurious lifestyle for himself,” Moore said in a statement.

The criminal charges were related to a personal bankruptcy case Kimball brought in 2015. Kimball and payday loan company LTS Management, which he co-owned, were forced into bankruptcy by creditors claiming to be owed millions of dollars from investments into payday lending.

In 2017, a bankruptcy trustee accused Kimball of concealing assets, bank accounts and income from his bankruptcy disclosures, The Star previously reported. Debtors in bankruptcy are supposed to reveal all aspects of their financial condition.

Those omissions, according to the trustee, included his sale of a warehouse for nearly $1 million, the sale of three cars for more than $120,000, eight wrist watches worth more than $29,000 and a painting by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

All the while, Kimball claimed he lost millions of dollars in 2013 and 2014 while he actually had a gross income of nearly $160,000 in 2013 and more than $213,000 in 2014, federal prosecutors said. He also admitted to directing profits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars into his wife’s personal bank account to conceal his wealth from creditors and federal authorities.

The Star’s Steve Vockrodt contributed to this report.

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