A River Falls man appeared in St. Croix County Circuit Court last month on charges that he falsely represented himself in order to fleece a would-be investor out of $5,000.
Prosecutors charged 42-year-old Joshua A. Kundert with three felonies: unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information, fraudulent writings and theft by false representation.
He was released from St. Croix County jail on a $2,500 signature bond after a Nov. 19 court hearing.
According to a criminal complaint:
Hudson police were informed July 2 of a fraud case by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
The victim, a 32-year-old man, told Hudson police he lost out on a $5,000 real estate investment that he first learned about through a Craigslist.com advertisement.
The man said the arrangement called for investors to front a $5,000 payment to secure a loan. The investor would be responsible for picking out a property for a “fix and flip” real estate deal. Terms of the deal called for a company called The Fresh Corp. to buy the property and renovate it. Once sold, the company would keep the original sale funds, along with the cost of renovations, fees and interest. The remaining amount of sale proceeds would belong to the investor.
The Craigslist ad named Kundert as the contact person for the investment.
The victim said he spoke several times with Kundert about the deal before meeting with him in person at Speedy Loans in Hudson. Kundert told the victim he was a salesman for The Fresh Corp. and presented several purported company documents.
The victim was told to bring a $5,000 check payable to Kundert -- not The Fresh Corp., because, he told the investor, he was “responsible for the western half of Wisconsin.”
After turning over the check that day, the victim selected a property for the “fix and flip” opportunity. Kundert told the man that he would need an additional $12,000, prompting the victim to protest.
Three weeks later, the victim told Kundert that he was no longer interested in the deal and that he wanted his original payment back. Kundert refused.
The victim contacted The Fresh Corp.’s owner, who told him that Kundert had no authority to transact the deal and that he only handled advertising for the company. Kundert never turned over any of the victim’s money to the company, the owner told him.
A review of Kundert’s bank records revealed he deposited the check into his personal checking account the same day the victim made it out and then withdrew $600. A $3,350 cash withdrawal was made from the account the following day.
Hudson police interviewed The Fresh Corp. owner Eric Jones on July 8 and learned the company had fired Kundert. Jones explained to investigators that Kundert was responsible for advertising and referring potential investors back to the company.
Kundert paid a $3,000 sign-up fee to work with the company on Jan. 1, 2015.
Authorities had Jones review the documents given to the victim by Kundert. Jones said it appeared the documents were faked using logos found online and pasting them onto Microsoft Word documents.
Jones also told investigators that he is the only person authorized to sign and authorize contracts on behalf of The Fresh Corp.
In an interview with police, Kundert said he sent a money order to Jones, for which he kept a receipt. Kundert told an investigator he would provide a copy of the receipt and other supporting documents.
Kundert did not return an investigator’s phone calls afterward.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Jan. 13.