Denny Hecker, who once owned 26 auto dealerships, Advantage Rent a Car, and other auto leasing and fleet operations before filing for bankruptcy in June, is now the focus of a federal grand jury investigating whether he should face criminal charges, according to the Star-Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis.
Hecker, who claimed his businesses were worth $6.8 billion in combined annual revenue, filed for bankruptcy June 4, claiming that he owed $767 million but had just $18.5 million in assets. The federal grand jury will determine whether he should be charged with any crimes as he sought loans and tried to salvage his auto sales and leasing business. One of the possible charges may involve his business dealings with Chrysler Financial Services Americas, according to a motion his attorneys filed Sept. 22 in bankruptcy court.
He also faces state and federal investigations over allegations of forgery, conspiracy, money laundering, and mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. In the last week, Hyundai Financial, U.S. Bank, Cornerstone Bank, GE Fleet Services, VisionBank, Alliance Bank, and other lenders joined Chrysler Financial in accusing Hecker of committing fraud to obtain greater loans than he was entitled to receive. Hecker has denied all wrongdoing.
He owes $466 million to Chrysler Financial alone.
Hecker’s attorneys on Sept. 22 asked to stay court proceedings involving Chrysler Financial’s fraud allegations until the grand jury reaches a decision. A hearing will take place on that motion Oct. 7.
Hecker attorney Bill Mohrman said the motion was filed to preserve Hecker’s rights under the U.S. Constitution, including his right under the Fifth Amendment to decline to testify against himself.