The story of Denny Hecker’s white collar crime case has finally come to end. The former owner of a local auto empire was sentenced to a prison term of 10 years for two counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy on Friday. Hecker was given the maximum sentence and was also ordered to repay $31.36 million to victims. It is expected that Hecker will serve his prison time in Minnesota, but the final decision of where he will serve his prison term will be left to the United States Bureau of Prisons.
This past September Hecker pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy. The counts were related to his less than honest dealings with the bankruptcy court and bankruptcy trustee. In addition, Hecker’s criminal counts were related to his decision to change loan documents. All of these actions led to his defrauding creditors including Chrysler Financial out of $ 80 million.
The trustee who handled Hecker’s bankruptcy case described Hecker as the most dishonest debtor he had ever dealt with. The court labeled Hecker a “scoundrel” and the prosecution said during the case that Hecker eventually figured out that he needed to cooperate with the court process. Hecker’s defense attorney defended Hecker’s reputation by saying he was a successful businessman that made some bad decisions. The defense attorney analogized what the court heard about Hecker’s life to a series of bad wrecks on a race track instead of seeing the complete race.
Hecker built his auto dealership business into 26 locations and owned car rental businesses including Advantage Rent-A-Car. His businesses generated $6.8 billion in annual revenue. Despite his business success, Hecker still currently owes 200 creditors and will have to pay $500 per month in restitution to creditors upon his release from prison. He is currently in the Sherburne County jail and will be there for the next six weeks until he is transferred to federal prison.
Source: Star Tribune, “Hecker saga ends with no mercy,” Dee DePass and David Phelps, 2/12/11