Hecker Co-Defendants Sentenced

The man central to Denny Hecker’s 2007 cut-and-paste loan document scheme was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Feb. 8 for his role in the fraud that cost auto lenders millions of dollars, according to the Star-Tribune.

Steven Leach, 55, was also ordered to pay restitution of $14.2 million.

Meanwhile, Hecker, who is currently held in county jail, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison for his role in the fraud. 

Leach worked for Hecker for 20 years, becoming the president of Rosedale Leasing as part of the Hecker empire that once boasted $6 billion in annual sales.

Leach’s attorney, Robert Sicoli,  argued that Leach never profited from the Hecker fraud and yet was facing prison time when “other unindicted co-conspirators” were left untouched. Co-defendant and former Hecker employee James Gustafson was sentenced on Feb. 3 to two years of probation and 120 hours of community service for lying to the court about exactly when he learned of Hecker and Leach’s fraud and for issuing a phony vehicle title for Hecker’s Cadillac Escalade.

Leach, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Oct. 1, admitted that he had followed Hecker’s orders in 2007, when he told an assistant to cut and paste false wording into a Hyundai fleet financing document. The change falsely made it appear as though Hyundai had guaranteed to buy back nearly all of the vehicles in the fleet if Hecker failed to sell them off the dealer lot.

Leach faxed the altered document to Hecker in Michigan. Hecker then presented the doctored documents to Chrysler Financial and obtained financing for the Hyundai fleet. The fraud resulted in Chrysler Financial lending Hecker and his businesses $80 million and eventually losing about $13 million.

A similar scheme of altered documents was first took place against Chrysler Financial earlier in 2007, regarding financing a fleet of Suzuki vehicles. In that case, a key page that outlined incentives to Hecker was intentionally omitted. That fraud was replicated with other lenders who also lost money to Hecker. The total amount lost in the Hyundai and Suzuki schemes was $14.2 million. Ericksen ruled that’s how much Leach would pay in restitution.

Ericksen ordered Leach to pay $2,500 a month in restitution, to serve 27 months in jail, and another three years on probation.


  1. DP [ February 18, 2011 @ 07:38PM ]

    I did work for Mr Hecker at Advantage renta car he was a good men will be miss

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

6 Takeaways from the 2018 International Car Rental Show

Technological solutions are finally moving from reality to theory, peer-to-peer platforms are being redefined, China has the biggest room for growth, while Sixt’s U.S. aspirations have only just begun.

The Irony of Customer Service in the Digital Age

Sure, any company would jump at the chance to use technology to reduce labor costs. But it also comes with some big, red, flashing warning lights.

Market Forces Driving Car Rental in 2018

An analysis of the conference calls of Avis Budget Group and Hertz Global Holdings reveal trends and initiatives involving fleet right sizing, pricing, ancillary revenue opportunities, and renting to ride-hailing drivers.

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.