Auto businessman Denny Hecker, who owned Advantage Rent A Car, 26 auto dealerships, and other businesses, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 11 to charges he operated a scheme to defraud lenders of millions.
Hecker and a former executive, Steven Joseph Leach, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. Leach also pleaded not guilty. Hecker is also charged with money laundering.
One of Minnesota’s largest auto dealers, Hecker owned the dealerships and other businesses as recently as 2008.
The indictment alleges that in order to fund the businesses and buy vehicles, Hecker borrowed money from commercial lenders and used purchased vehicles as the primary collateral.
In the fall of 2007, Hecker and Leach gave fraudulent documents to Chrysler Financial Services Americas to obtain $80 million in financing to purchase vehicles from Hyundai Motor America, according to the indictment. Chrysler Financial issued the loan and lost more than $10 million.
Hecker filed for bankruptcy last June, claiming $787 million in debt and $18.5 million in assets.
Hecker’s attorney said he was confident that a jury would find Hecker not guilty.