A onetime Iron Range businessman was sentenced Tuesday to more than six years in prison for swindling classic car buffs out of more than $1 million with false promises to restore their vintage vehicles.
The sentence given to Edwin S. Verdung, 27, in federal court in Minneapolis includes three years of supervised release and an order to pay restitution to his victims.
In August, Verdung pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering as part of a three-year scheme.
Verdung admitted that from April 2007 through May 2010 he was paid to provide or restore classic cars at Memory Lane Classics, the business he operated in Chisholm, Minn., with his father. However, he failed to provide the cars or the restoration services as promised.
In some instances, he falsely claimed that he had made progress in the work. He also required some customers to make “progress” payments, providing them with bogus photographs of the restoration.
Verdung could have faced up to 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud count and 10 years on the money-laundering count.
His father, Scott Verdung, 61, has not been charged in federal court. He was convicted in Hibbing in February 2013 of passing a bad check. Court records at the time listed him with a Duluth address and noted that he was given three years’ probation.
Memory Lane Classics hastily shut down in the spring of 2010. As word spread online, customers rushed to Chisholm to pick up their cars and parts. Many who had paid $30,000 to $80,000 found their cars in various stages of completion.
Before closing the shop, the Verdungs and Memory Lane had been sued more than a dozen times since 2007.
Scott Verdung and his wife, Barbara, had previously operated Memory Lane Classics in West Palm Beach, Fla., but they filed for bankruptcy in 2005, according to court records.