Hecker attorney recommends 8-year sentenceby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The attorney for auto mogul Denny Hecker is asking that his client serve no more than eight years in prison for committing bankruptcy fraud and defrauding lenders. But government prosecutors want him jailed for 10 years.
Hecker pleaded guilty last September to conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 11.
Hecker's attorney, Bill Mauzy, argued in a court filing that Hecker should serve the shorter sentence because he pleaded guilty well before a possible trial, testified truthfully on three different occasions and has generally not taken "any actions fatal to acceptance of responsibility."
Mauzy argued that losses from one fraud Hecker engaged in were "greatly aggravated by poor market conditions."
Mauzy added that Hecker's offenses are "not otherwise extraordinary, when put in the context of Hecker's business history."
Mauzy also requested that Hecker serve his sentence at the federal prison camp in Duluth, where Hecker could be treated for chemical dependency.
A federal judge jailed Hecker last October after he failed to explain how he had been spending tens of thousands of dollars. Hecker had claimed he couldn't afford an attorney, and the government had been paying for Hecker's legal defense.
Prosecutors say Hecker continued a pattern of law-breaking even after reaching his plea agreement.
As recently as 2008, Hecker owned 26 auto dealerships as well as other businesses, and was recognizable around the Twin Cities for his frequent appearances in his own advertising.
But a federal indictment claimed that in the fall of 2007, he and a company executive gave fraudulent documents to Chrysler Financial to obtain $80 million in financing. Chrysler Financial issued the loan and lost more than $10 million.
Hecker filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming $787 million in debt and $18.5 million in assets.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)