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Wisconsin motorcycle showman faces federal fraud charges

A Wisconsin man well-known for his motorcycle feats has been accused of pulling a very different kind of stunt by federal agents. The motorcycle showman, who also specializes in sales of machine guns and other weapons, has been arrested and charged with 30 counts of fraud in connection with his bankruptcy filing.

The 49-year-old man, who goes by the nickname "the burnout king" at motorcycle shows for his ability to burn out bike tires, was arrested in another state last week after crossing the Canadian border. He was originally indicted in Milwaukee back in June.

Following his arrest in Michigan, a federal judge allowed the man to be released on a property bond. But that decision was overridden after the U.S. attorney's office in Milwaukee brought the case to a chief U.S. district judge. The man was subsequently detained and he remains in jail, presumably until his next unscheduled court appearance.

The man stands accused of lying on a home equity loan he took out in 2007 by claiming that he was making $24,000 a month. Over that year and the next, he bought five motorcycles and a trailer. But shortly thereafter he filed for bankruptcy in Milwaukee, the indictment alleges. As part of his bankruptcy filing he claimed to have sold his gun dealing business even though he hadn't, prosecutors say. He also allegedly failed to disclose having several assets that would have been subject to seizure in the bankruptcy, including a motor home, a car, two trailers and 13 motorcycles.

If convicted of the charges against him, the man could spend three decades in prison, the maximum allowed for the fraud charges. Federal sentencing guidelines would result in a much shorter sentence, however.

Some might say "the burnout king" doesn't fit the profile of a white collar criminal, but almost anyone can be subject to fraud or theft charges, regardless of income or profession. In fact, one of the dangers of being unfamiliar with bankruptcy proceedings and other major financial undertakings is the possibility of making an error that turns out to be illegal. That's not to say this defendant didn't know what he was doing, but it's not unusual for people to be charged with a financial crime without intentionally breaking the law. In those situations, it's best to consult an attorney who regularly handles cases of fraud, theft and other white collar crimes.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Motorcycle showman, gun dealer charged with fraud," John Diedrich, Aug. 3, 2012

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