Eau Claire man guilty of 50 counts of mail fraudAn Eau Claire man was found guilty of 50 counts of mail fraud last week in federal court and will be sentenced in March.
An Eau Claire man was found guilty of 50 counts of mail fraud last week in federal court and will be sentenced in March.
Bernard C. Seidling, 61, engaged in a fraud scheme from 2003-2009 in which he used the Wisconsin small claims court system, including Pierce County, to obtain small claims judgments against individuals and corporations based on false representations in lawsuits he filed, announced John W. Vaudreuil, US Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. Judge Barbara B. Crabb will sentence Seidling at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 21. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the 50 charges.
In summary, Seidling filed suits in Wisconsin small claims courts against individuals and corporations in which he lied about their addresses and attempts to serve them. He submitted false documents to convince the small claims courts he had process servers attempt to serve defendants when, in fact, those attempts either had not been made, or, as Seidling knew, would be unsuccessful because he knew the defendants didn’t live at the address he provided.
In each of these lawsuits, Seidling usually claimed the maximum allowed of $5,000 (as of the time in the indictment). He had filings of the lawsuits from the victims of his scheme (the defendants in the lawsuits), and then obtained default judgments. Once he obtained these fraudulent default judgments, he filed them in the county where the victims actually lived or owned property, and also used them to attempt to file wage garnishments against the victims and the victims’ property.
Vaudreuil stated the successful prosecution is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Sheriff’s Departments of Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Dane, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Jackson, Pierce, Polk, Sawyer and Washburn Counties; and Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation.