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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that on October 22, 2012, at a sentencing hearing before Waukesha County Judge Jennifer R. Dorow, Milwaukee County Resident James D. Gardetto was sentenced to two years of initial confinement in a Wisconsin state prison followed by three years of extended supervision by the prison system, which will then be followed by another three years of probation on his eight criminal convictions relating to engaging in unfair trade practices.
According to the criminal complaint in Waukesha County Case No. 11CM1115, Gardetto agreed to the entry of an order of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in 2003. Among other things, the order requires that Gardetto refrain from engaging in specific unfair trade practices, such as refusing to return a consumer’s property and attempting to enforce unconscionable contract clauses. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection discovered that Gardetto violated these orders on multiple occasions. In addition to these violations, Gardetto did not disclose his business location and lied to consumers in order to obtain their money and their property, making it impossible for the consumers to get their property back.
According to the criminal complaint in Waukesha County Case No. 12CF0037, Gardetto engaged in unfair trade practices between June 29, 2011, and August 24, 2011, by misrepresenting his business affiliations and locations to consumers of television repair services. Additionally, Gardetto provided a false business address to a police detective who was investigating his practices. Most of the charged conduct occurred after Gardetto was ordered by a Wisconsin State Circuit Court, in the context of a felony case, not to commit any new crimes as a condition of his release.
The charges were the result of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and others, including the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Cudahy Police Department, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab and the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office. Wisconsin Statute Chapter 950 Victim Services were provided by the Office of the Waukesha County District Attorney. Assistant Attorney General Eric D. Défort represented the State of Wisconsin as special prosecutor in this criminal prosecution.