Former auto mogul bused again, to prison near Scranton, Pa.
It’s always a journey with Denny Hecker.
The disgraced Twin Cities auto dealer was bused to yet another prison this month, making it his sixth move in 14 months.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, federal marshals moved Hecker, 60, on March 8 to the Canaan Penitentiary, 20 miles outside Scranton, Pa.
Since June, Hecker was incarcerated in the low-security facility in Loretto, Pa., 90 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Prison officials declined to say why he was moved yet again.
Hecker, who owned 26 auto dealerships throughout Minnesota, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to bankruptcy fraud and to defrauding auto lenders out of hundreds of millions of dollars. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence and is scheduled to be released in July 2019.
Since he was first arrested on fraud charges in 2010, Hecker has been imprisoned in the Sherburne County jail and in federal prisons in Duluth, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania’s Loretto and Canaan prisons.
The frequent relocations were referred to as “diesel therapy” by defense attorneys not related to Hecker’s case. Frequently relocating prisoners by bus or plane is one way to keep troublesome prisoners in line, they said.
Brian Toder, Hecker’s former attorney, said previously that Hecker first got into trouble in Duluth by violating cellphone rules and was later perceived as a flight risk. Hecker was abruptly moved from Duluth’s minimum security prison camp in February 2012.
He spent the next few months being bused from facility to facility before landing in Loretto in June.
Now he is in Canaan, a high-security men’s prison that also has a minimum-security prison camp. Bureau officials declined to say whether Hecker is in the prison camp. But officials said previously that it is extremely unusual for any prisoner’s security level to suddenly skip several tiers.
Whatever security level Hecker currently has, he is not likely to stay at Canaan for the rest of his 10-year sentence. The penitentiary is frequently used as a transit stopover for prisoners on the way to other destinations.
On Tuesday, Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke declined to discuss Hecker’s case but noted that prisoners may be relocated for a variety of reasons, including behavioral issues, for the prisoner’s own safety or to get the prisoner closer to family or certain rehabilitation programs, he said.
Dee DePass • 612-673-7725