Eric J. Toney, the district attorney for Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, has announced that Judge Robert J. Wirtz sentenced Sterling W. Kienbaum to 11 years of initial confinement and three years of extended supervision, totaling a 14-year sentence. The sentence was issued Aug. 28.
Kienbaum was convicted of racketeering and felony theft Jan. 11, 2018. Prior to sentencing, he prepaid $6 million in restitution for the racketeering scheme.
Kienbaum, the owner of Fox Valley Iron & Metal, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Gibson’s Auto Salvage, Neenah, Wisconsin, was convicted for loading scrap vehicles with dirt to increase the weight of the purported scrap metal contained within the vehicles. Kienbaum would then make cash payments to one of his employees, Daniel Christianson, to deliver the scrap automobiles loaded with dirt to Sadoff. Christianson would deliver Kienbaum’s money to Donald Krueger, a Sadoff employee. Krueger’s role in the scheme was to ensure Kienbaum’s loads were paid out as if scrap metal comprised the entire load.
Kienbaum is statutorily ineligible for any early release programs, making this a day-for-day sentence, according to a press release issued by the office of the district attorney.
The court must still determine whether a statutory 10 percent restitution surcharge will be ordered. If the court orders that surcharge, the defendant must pay Fond du Lac County $600,000 as a result of the restitution order.
The court ordered that the defendant reimburse the district attorney’s office $29,600 that it spent on an expert witness to prosecute this case. Kienbaum prepaid $22,081 to the district attorney’s office prior to sentencing.
Toney says, “This racketeering scheme and multimillion-dollar theft from Sadoff Iron & Metal Co. had a tremendous impact on their employees, the business and our community. The support from Attorney General Schimel and his office, the excellent investigation from the city of Fond du Lac Police Department, the patience of the Lasky family and tireless work of Deputy District Attorney Dennis R. Krueger were instrumental in obtaining this result. Deputy District Attorney Krueger passed away on Saturday, May 5, 2018, the day after the restitution hearing.”
“The Department of Justice was happy to assist District Attorney Toney and Fond du Lac Police Department with this unique case,” adds Attorney General Brad Schimel. “This was a complex, multimillion-dollar criminal scheme that local law enforcement and prosecutors worked hard to pull apart in order to provide justice to a local employer.”
The allegations in the criminal complaint stem from an investigation led by the city of Fond du Lac Police Department alleging a multimillion-dollar theft from Sadoff Iron & Metal that occurred between 2009 and May 2015.
“We are extremely grateful to District Attorney Eric Toney, the late Deputy District Attorney Dennis Krueger, the Fond du Lac Police Department and our legal team at Quarles & Brady, led by Keith Bruett, in ensuring that justice was served in this criminal case,” says Sadoff CEO Mark Lasky. “We are also thankful to all the employees at Sadoff Iron & Metal for their continued support.”
Having been found guilty of racketeering pursuant to Wisconsin law, Kienbaum faced a fine up to $50,000 and imprisonment up to 15 years. In lieu of a fine under the applicable Wisconsin statute, any person convicted of engaging in racketeering conduct may be fined up to two times the gross value gained or two times the gross loss caused, whichever is the greater, plus court costs and the costs of investigation and prosecution, according to the attorney general’s office.
Having been convicted of felony theft under Wisconsin law, Kienbaum faced a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment up to 10 years. He faced up to 25 years of imprisonment in total.
Christianson no longer works for Sterling Kienbaum, and Krueger no longer works for Sadoff.