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Press Release

Suamico and Kaukauna Car Dealer Sentenced on Fraud Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that on January 5, 2023, John M. Solberg (age: 40) of Suamico, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison by Senior United States District Judge William C. Griesbach.

According to court records, Solberg established “Backwoods Bargains,” a used car dealership located in Suamico, Wisconsin, in 2012. Ultimately, the dealership was renamed “Standard Pre-Owned,” and Solberg opened a second location in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, also named “Standard Pre-Owned.” While operating his dealerships, Solberg developed a scheme to defraud individuals that 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 Judge 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. Though Solberg requested a sentence of probation, the judge determined that a 30-month term in federal prison was required to address the magnitude of the crime and to send a message to Solberg and others that taking advantage of people will result in serious consequences. After serving his prison sentence, Solberg will spend three years on supervised release.  The Court also ordered Solberg to pay approximately $290,000 in restitution to his victims.   

This case was investigated by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Kaukauna Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel R. Humble and Julie F. Stewart.

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Updated January 6, 2023