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Ex-foreclosure king arrested for fraud

By: Eric Heisig//October 20, 2014//

Ex-foreclosure king arrested for fraud

By: Eric Heisig//October 20, 2014//

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A Pewaukee man described as the one-time king of foreclosures, along with his adult son, were arrested Monday morning on federal fraud charges that stem from a construction project he oversaw in Waupan.

Heavily armed federal agents broke down the door of the home of Todd Brunner, 57, and his 24-year-old son, Shawn. Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 7, but were arrested because they failed to appear for their hearing Friday afternoon.

The two face a combined 15 counts of fraud and concealing assets from a court. On Monday, Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph released Shawn and ordered Todd Brunner to be held in jail on $2,000 bond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Kraft said the elder Brunner has a history of not showing up for court appearances.

A date for their next appearance has not been set.

According to the indictment, Todd Brunner and his business partners planned to convert a vacant school in Waupan to a senior living facility. The group obtained a $2 million loan from First Business Bank-Milwaukee in 2008 and the facility, when completed in August 2010, operated as Whispering Oaks Assisted Living.

In order to obtain the loan, though, Todd Brunner submitted paperwork that misrepresented the payments due for the construction work, according to the indictment.

Once the project was finished the partners could not pay back the loan to the bank, and Todd Brunner also owed money to other institutions. The bank obtained a $2.2 million judgment against Todd Brunner in March 2011, according to the indictment.

Once the loan was due, Todd Brunner created new companies to shield his assets and named his son, Shawn, as the organizer in an attempt to shield about $7 million worth of assets from the bank, according to the indictment. In addition, Todd Brunner filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and allegedly lied to the bankruptcy court about his assets.

Brunner was once known for his large financial empire, which was built largely by buying hundreds of foreclosed homes throughout southeastern Wisconsin. He was a regular fixture at auctions held by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

Todd and Shawn Brunner were represented by Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin Inc., though their attorneys for the case were not assigned as of Monday.

The Associated Press also contributed to this report.


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