The U.S. trustee handling the bankruptcy case of convicted auto mogul Denny Hecker settled with the Minnesota Department of Commerce this week, allowing nearly $100,000 in unclaimed checks to Hecker to be rerouted to creditors.
Hecker, who served 7½ years in federal prison for fraud, was released to a halfway house in Minneapolis around February of this year.
In August 2017, U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Randy Seaver sued Hecker and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, claiming the state and other entities collected or issued thousands in unclaimed checks that had been made out to Hecker — including one check for nearly $35,000 that was sent to Hecker while he was in prison.
In court records filed this week, Seaver said he had dismissed Hecker from his lawsuit and reached settlement terms with the state so that 93 checks that had been made out to Hecker entities would instead be used to reimburse Hecker’s bankruptcy creditors.
The checks listed in the settlement ranged from $59 to $14,600 and totaled $99,669.50 so far. The notice said there might be more unclaimed funds that will fall under the settlement agreement.
For now, the largest of the check payments made to Hecker’s entities went by the following names: Walden Automotive Group ($14,600); Roseville Leasing ($11,250); Hecker Capital ($6,945.87); and Advantage Delaware Management ($5,954.76).
The checks had been mailed to Hecker or his business entities over several years. While they were addressed to Hecker or to one of the dozens of limited liability companies he owned, most ended up in the hands of the Department of Commerce after various addresses failed to get the funds to Hecker himself. Under state law, unclaimed checks must be held by the state until the rightful owner comes forward to claim them, Department of Commerce officials explained.
In his adversary court filing in August 2017, Seaver insisted that any unclaimed checks sent to Hecker should be used to pay Hecker’s creditors. At one time, Hecker owned 26 new- and used-car dealerships and the Advantage Rent-A-Car chain in addition to his limited liability companies.
In 2010, however, Hecker pleaded guilty to both bankruptcy fraud and to defrauding Chrysler Financial out of millions in auto loans. He served 7½ years of a 10-year sentence in various federal prisons around the country.
The settlement announced this week will be effective May 25, court documents said.
“The purpose of this settlement is to conclude pending litigation and to liquidate the unclaimed funds for the benefit of Hecker’s bankruptcy creditors and the federal restitution claimants,” the documents said.