MADISON, Wis. - A 61-year-old man from Eau Claire was found guilty of 50 counts of mail fraud on December 26, 2012.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said Bernard Seidling used the state's small claims court system to get small claims judgments against individuals and corporations based on false representations in lawsuits he filed.
Seidling faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the 50 charges. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 21.
The department says Seidling deceived small claims courts, clerks of court, and process servers, but he said he didn't deceive the actual victims of his scheme to defraud and should not be found guilty. According to the department, Seidling filed suits in Wisconsin small claims courts against individuals and corporations and lied about their addresses and attempts to serve them. In each of the lawsuits, Seidling claimed the maximum allowed, $5,000. The Department of Justice says Seidling hid filings of the lawsuits from the victims of his scheme and then obtained default judgments.
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