Denny Hecker sentenced [UPDATE]

Hecker's going to prison.

Hecker's going to prison.

There was a time when Denny Hecker ruled a kingdom of almost 30 auto dealerships, wheeling and dealing his way to a life flush with mansions and luxury travel. He collected Rolexes, jewelry, boats, motorcycles - all manner of expensive toys.

Those days are over. He was sentenced today in federal court to 10 years in prison -- the maximum time under his plea agreement.


Hecker wept at the news:

"I have a heart," he said softly, later continuing in tears, "I really am a good person."

UPDATE: Nonsense, said District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen.

"The actions you've taken are not consistent with someone who can be trusted, and you have not been as truthful as you could have been in the court system. Therefore, you do not get a break. You're going to get the full 10 years, which is appropriate and necessary. Behaving like a scoundrel is not tolerated in the court system."

Ericksen also turned back a request from Hecker that he be allowed a few weeks off between sentencing and reporting to prison in order to say goodbye to family and friends, and ordered him to pay more than $31 million in restitution. He will remain in custody.

The disgraced businessman pleaded guilty in September to masterminding an effort to scam Chrysler Financial Services and other commercial lenders out of tens of millions of dollars from November 2006 through June 2009.

Just last week, Hecker made a play for a lighter sentence by admitting to having made lousy business decisions, and fessing to a drug and alcohol problem that he said contributed to his crimes.

In the meantime, the deal does nothing to slow the claw-back efforts of the court-appointed trustee in Hecker's $767 million personal bankruptcy case.