Former auto dealer Denny Hecker pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud and could face up to 10 years in prison.
The bankruptcy fraud charge that Hecker has agreed to plead guilty to alleges he transferred $33,057 by wire into a bank account for an unnamed person, but that Hecker exercised control over the account, and that he transferred $80,000 to the same unnamed person who then arranged to give that money back to Hecker later.
As part of the plea deal, Hecker will remain under house arrest until just after Christmas at which point he will report to a federal prison. A date for Hecker's bankruptcy fraud sentencing has not been scheduled. At one point Hecker was known as an auto mogul who owned a large network of auto dealerships' and a leasing company. But despite his fortunes, Hecker filed for bankruptcy in 2009 with $767 million in debt largely caused by personal guarantees on business loans. Soon after the bankruptcy proceedings began, the bankruptcy trustee unearthed hidden assets and accused Hecker of bankruptcy fraud. Hecker consistently denied allegations that he was engaged in bankruptcy fraud and was originally scheduled to face trial in October, but upon the advice of his bankruptcy attorneys, Hecker decided to plead guilty to the charges against him.
"Denny feels this is acceptable," his attorney, Brian Toder, said after the hearing. "On the one hand Denny wanted to fight this. But the risk of what could have happened was an unacceptable risk."
The risk that Denny was taking was that if he went to trail he could have faced several decades behind bars if convicted.