RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Henrico man whose sneaker business was a suspected scam has now pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court.
Justin Lee Godsey, 26, pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Godsey owned Sneak Foot, Ltd., an online shoe retailer that came under scrutiny in 2021 after customers claimed they never received the products they had ordered. 8News confronted Godsey at his home in June 2021. At that time, Godsey said he didn’t own the company but “simply managed risk for SneakFoot and secured payment processing capabilities.”
Following other 8News investigations, it was discovered that the company had a number of fake reviews and Godsey’s other businesses had a history of complaints.
In May 2023, Godsey was arrested by the FBI on charges of fraud and money laundering.
“When customers purchased shoes from Sneak Foot, the sales were managed by two credit card processing companies who had entered into agreements with Sneak Foot,” a release from the U.S. Department of Justice reads. “The processors were obligated to refund the money sent to Sneak Foot through them if Godsey failed to deliver shoes ordered.”
According to court documents, Godsey consistently pocketed customer payments without sending them their products. Godsey used the funds for personal expenses — including down payments on two Lamborghinis, a McLaren and a Ferrari.
“The losses incurred by the two credit card processors exceed $870,000,” the DOJ release said.
Shannon Forsyth was registered as the Director of Sneak Foot. Godsey’s statement of facts document obtained by 8News now shows that Forsyth “played no role in the running of the businesses.”
The statement of facts also lists a number of false claims Godsey made to 8News during the June 2021 confrontation outside his home. According to court documents:
- Godsey falsely claimed that he paid for all his cars with stock dividends
- Godsey falsely denied owning Sneak Foot
- Godsey falsely claimed that his primary business was a search engine optimization (SEO) company
- Godsey falsely stated the company’s primary location was in the United Kingdom
Watch 8News reporter Kerri O’Brien confront Godsey at his home in 2021
Godsey is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 20. He could receive up to a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.