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Wisconsin foreclosure king’s empire collapses

While most Americans felt the negative repercussions of the recent economic recession, one Wisconsin man profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. Todd Brunner, formerly known as the king of foreclosures, turned his real estate holdings into an empire purchasing hundreds of foreclosed homes in southeastern Wisconsin and turning them into rental properties.

At the height of his success, Brunner owned more than 24 automobiles and boats, some of which were extremely valuable. But it didn’t take long for Brunner to drive his empire into the ground. By 2011, Brunner filed for bankruptcy claiming to be close to $20 million in debt. However, in 2012 the bankruptcy court threw out his case when a federal judge determined that Brunner mislead the court by not disclosing all of his assets. 

Brunner’s downfall reached an even bigger low this week when he was arrested by armed U.S. marshals at his home in Pewaukee on criminal charges relating to fraud and bankruptcy. According to reports, Brunner’s adult son was also arrested on similar charges.

A U.S. Magistrate judge had issued a warrant for the arrests last week after learning that the two were refusing service for a summons to appear in court after being indicted. Prosecutors accuse 57-year-old Brunner and his 24-year-old son of hiding assets during the bankruptcy proceeding and from lenders.

More specifically, Brunner is accused of creating shell companies in his son’s name and transferring properties and assets to them in effort to evade the bankruptcy court and lenders.

While the bankruptcy process is a very important and justifiable option for Americans who are desperate for a fresh start it unfortunately sometimes gets a bad name from people who take advantage of it. That’s why it’s necessary for those who take advantage to face consequences for their actions.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Federal agents arrest former foreclosure king Todd Brunner,” Cary Spivak, Oct. 20, 2014

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