Jailed auto mogul Denny Hecker is on the road again. The former Minnesota auto dealer was transferred to a federal transfer prison in Oklahoma City, his eighth prison in 14 months, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed this week.
Hecker, 60, had been housed at a low-security facility in Loretto, Pa., since June. On March 8, U.S. marshals took him from Loretto to the Canaan Penitentiary outside Scranton, Pa., from where he was moved to Oklahoma.
Prison officials declined to say Tuesday why he is being moved or where he will eventually end up. The Oklahoma facility is a transfer center for “holdover offenders.” So it is not clear how long Hecker will be there.
What is clear is that Hecker has been there before. He spent at least five days there in May 2012 while being transported across the country. This week’s move marks the latest in a string of relocations.
Initially, Hecker’s defense team and others surmised that Hecker might have been bounced around because he had behavioral problems or because he was deemed a potential flight risk. The prison system is known to use what’s called “diesel therapy’’ on troublesome inmates, a reference to long road trips on prison buses.
But the latest series of moves has some experts scratching their heads.
“This sounds odd to me,” Joe Friedberg, a prominent Twin Cities defense attorney who is not connected to the Hecker case, said in an interview Tuesday. He understood that U.S. marshals may have given Hecker the initial “runaround,” to teach him a lesson. “But this time? They wouldn’t do that again. They would just stick him in the hole or move him to a worse prison. And there are a lot of tough prisons right in or near Pennsylvania.”
Friedberg said the relocations could be for medical reasons or to get him closer to a prison with certain services. “I don’t know. Maybe he is on his way back here.”
Hecker was initially sent to the Sherburne County jail in late 2010 after his arrest for fraud. He was sentenced in February 2011 and sent to the Duluth federal prison camp, where he was expected to stay for 10 years.
But Hecker was abruptly moved from Duluth in February 2012, the same month his wife, Christi Rowan Hecker, was released from a prison halfway house in the Twin Cities after serving a 12-month sentence for fraud.
From Duluth, Hecker was taken to federal prisons in Wisconsin, Indiana and Oklahoma City and then to Canaan and Loretto, Pa.
Hecker is serving a 10-year sentence for bankruptcy fraud and for defrauding Chrysler Financial and other auto lenders of millions of dollars in loans. He is scheduled to be released in July 2019.