MINNEAPOLIS - Former auto dealer and Advantage Rent A Car owner Dennis ("Denny") Hecker, pled guilty Sept. 7 to crimes in connection with orchestrating a scheme to defraud financial lenders and others out of millions of dollars. Hecker pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
For many years, Hecker owned and operated numerous Minnesota auto dealerships and businesses that provided fleet vehicles to car rental companies. Those businesses operated under different corporate names but, collectively, were known as the "Hecker organization."
Hecker admitted that from November 2006 to June 2009, he conspired with others to defraud Chrysler Financial Services and other commercial lenders from which he and the Hecker organization borrowed money for business operations. Specifically, in fall 2007, he conspired with an employee, Steve Leach, and others to present fraudulent documents to Chrysler Financial in an effort to obtain $80 million in financing for the purchase of 5,000 vehicles from Hyundai Motor America. Chrysler Financial ultimately lost more than $10 million.
In June 2009, Hecker filed personal bankruptcy, seeking to discharge, among other amounts owed, the $10 million debt to Chrysler Financial, according to the DOJ. After filing bankruptcy, however, Hecker admitted that he concealed assets from the bankruptcy trustee.
Hecker faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison - five years on each of the two charges. His sentence has not yet been determined. Leach is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 18.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet