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Car dealer with business in Suamico, Kaukauna sentenced on federal fraud charge

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 17:35:34-05

A 40-year-old used car dealer who had businesses in Suamico and Kaukauna was sentenced on a federal fraud charge Thursday.

John Solberg was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

According to court records, Solberg established “Backwoods Bargains,” a used car dealership located in Suamico, in 2012. Ultimately, the dealership was renamed “Standard Pre-Owned,” and Solberg opened a second location in Kaukauna, also named “Standard Pre-Owned.”

While operating his dealerships, authorities said Solberg developed a scheme to defraud people who listed their vehicles for sale on Craigslist. Solberg would contact these individuals and offer to sell their vehicles on consignment from his car lots.

Court records indicate that Solberg then would sell the consignment cars without paying the owners of the vehicle and would provide fraudulent vehicle titles to the purchasers.

At sentencing, Senior U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach noted the serious nature of Solberg’s scheme based on the emotional and financial toll he imposed on his victims. He also questioned whether Solberg truly accepted responsibility for his criminal acts. Authorities said Solberg requested a sentence of probation, but the judge gave him 30 months.

After serving his prison sentence, Solberg will spend three years on supervised release. The court also ordered Solberg to pay about $290,000 in restitution to his victims.