Another Hecker Exec. Faces Federal Charges

James Carl Gustafson faces one count of making a false statement to investigators and one count of mail fraud.

Another of former auto mogul Denny Hecker's associates faces federal charges related to Hecker's fraud case.

According to court documents filed Friday, former employee James Carl Gustafson has been charged by the U.S. Attorney's office with one count of making a false statement to investigators and one count of mail fraud.

Gustafson allegedly lied to federal investigators by telling them that he didn't know until October 2008 that Hecker had falsified a document from Hyundai Motor America in order to defraud Chrysler Financial. Gustafson knew about the falsified submission-which occurred in November 2007-prior to that October 2008, according to the official complaint.

Prosecutors also accused Gustafson of attempting to transfer the title on Hecker's 2004 Cadillac Escalade to Northstate Financial “in order to mask the vehicle's true owner and hide the asset from owner's primary creditor, Chrysler Financial”-an act that constitutes mail fraud.

Gustafson was charged by “information” and without a grand jury indictment. Oftentimes, those charged in that way strike a deal with the government in the hopes of receiving some leniency.

In June, a U.S. bankruptcy judge found Gustafson in contempt of court and ordered him to pay $550 for failing to comply with an order to turn over documents related to Hecker's bankruptcy case. A short time later, Gustafson provided the documents and thus avoided serving jail time.

Hecker pleaded guilty on September 7 to two criminal charges-one count of bankruptcy fraud and one related to conspiracy. Prosecutors agreed to drop the 24 other criminal charges against Hecker in exchange for his guilty pleas; Hecker had previously pleaded not guilty to all 26 criminal charges that he faced; the charges relate to fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud. The government had accused Hecker of defrauding lenders by forging documents to obtain more than $100 million in loans.

Hecker filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as an individual in June 2009. He was later charged with bankruptcy fraud related to false declaration and pertaining to transfer and concealment of funds.