Feds: Make Hecker Co-Defendant Leach Forfeit $14.2M

The government says that Denny Hecker's co-defendant Steven Leach-who is scheduled to be sentenced on February 8-should forfeit $14.2 million to pay back victims of his auto fraud scheme.

Federal prosecutors want Steven Leach-a former executive of fallen auto mogul Denny Hecker-to give up $14.2 million to repay victims of his fraud, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Leach argued that Hecker should pay the bulk of the restitution owed to Chrysler Financial, LLC, as a result of the auto fraud scheme, but prosecutors said in court documents that Leach “played a crucial role” in defrauding the company and should be held responsible.

In Tuesday's filing, the government asked the court to issue “a money judgment forfeiture” forcing Leach to hand over the funds-which comprise what the government alleges was a “reasonably foreseeable” loss related to the fraud scheme.

Leach was indicted with Hecker in February for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, for which he faces up to five years in prison.

While working with Hecker, Leach allegedly falsified documents to lender Chrysler Financial Services, LLC, to obtain financing for the purchase of Hyundai vehicles-ultimately defrauding the company out of more than $13 million.

In the plea agreement, the government reserved its right to seek the forfeiture of Leach's property and money, including that which is “traceable to, derived from, or constitutes proceeds of his offense.”

Prosecutors acknowledge that Leach didn't personally receive the proceeds from the wire fraud conspiracy. “However, all co-conspirators are jointly and severally liable for the amount of the forfeiture, regardless of the personal benefit that they received,” the government alleges in court documents.

Hecker, Leach, and co-defendant James Gustafson will be sentenced this month. Leach's sentencing is scheduled for February 8.