Media Center



MADISON - Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced today that a Columbia County couple has been charged with felony charges of criminal slander of title for filing phony liens against individuals and public officials in Columbia County.


Lester Sundsmo, 64, and Lilac Sundsmo, 56, both of Rio in Columbia County were charged today with criminal slander of title. Each of the defendants was charged with five counts. Each count is a class H felony punishable by six years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.


According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) complaint, between 2003 and 2006 the Sundsmos submitted to the Columbia County Register of Deeds Uniform Commercial Code and other liens against employees of a bank that was foreclosing on their property, the former sheriff of Columbia County, the District Attorney who prosecuted Mrs. Sundsmo in two criminal cases and a Judge who presided over those criminal cases. The liens alleged that the victims owed the Sundsmos anywhere from $300,000 to $2.1 million dollars for the use of the Sundsmos names. The complaint alleges that none of the victims gave consent or authorized the filing of the liens.


"Filing phony liens is illegal in Wisconsin," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice is empowered to enforce the law in such matters on behalf of Wisconsin citizens."


An Assistant Attorney General from the Wisconsin Department of Justice will be handling the prosecution of the cases. The defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence. The state must prove its allegations at trial.