A Springfield man waived his right to a grand jury and entered a guilty plea in federal court Wednesday on charges of a fraud scheme.

Kenneth Edward Godat, 40,  has pled guilty to stealing over $500,000 from a woman. The woman believed she was investing in Godat’s business from October 5, 2007, through March 12, 2008.

Godat approached the woman in September of 2007, and claimed his tree trimming business was being contracted by FEMA. Godat also told the victim he would subcontract through a man named John Smitz, who owned a business called Tennessee Tree Company. However, neither John Smitz nor his “business” existed.

Godat obtained funds from the victim by providing false documents claiming business expenses. He also provided phony letters, contracts, and bills-of-sale.

Godat did not file taxes for the money he obtained from the woman,  and kept his financial transactions under $10,000 to hide the funds from the IRS.

Under the plea agreement, Godat must pay the woman $537,000 in restitution and pay any income tax owed.

Godat is facing up to 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of $500,000.

A sentencing hearing is being scheduled.