Feds Seek Max 6-Mo. Sentence for Hecker Girlfriend
Federal prosecutors on Friday recommended that Christi Rowan-the girlfriend of fallen auto mogul Denny Hecker-be sentenced to six months in prison, the maximum sentence under federal guidelines.
Meanwhile, Rowan filed her own court documents requesting a sentence at the lower end of the zero- to six-month range that the guidelines call for, saying that she has cooperated with investigators and has a responsibility to care for her two children.
Rowan pleaded guilty in April to one count of bank fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud related to actions that she took to purchase a vehicle for Hecker in 2009.
According to the government, Rowan falsified a W-2 form in April 2009 in an attempt to qualify for a loan for a Range Rover sought by Hecker. She allegedly claimed on the loan application that she earned $189,500 in 2008 when she actually earned $72,000 and indicated that she was employed as an attorney when she was actually employed as an account executive for Gannett Company.
Later, after Hecker filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, Rowan testified under oath that her 2008 income totaled $150,000 and said that she attended college at Drake University even though school records indicate she was never enrolled there, according to prosecutors.
The government argued in its pre-sentencing papers that in addition to the misrepresentations made in connection with Hecker's vehicle purchase, Rowan has demonstrated “a pattern of deception” over a period of many years. For example, after being convicted of theft for embezzling money from her Arizona employer in 2000, she allegedly told her Arizona probation officer that her employer transferred her to Minnesota-when that wasn't in fact the case. Rowan also allegedly told the officer that her fiancÅ½ at the time was a pilot for Northwest Airlines, when he was actually a recent aviation graduate who wanted to work for Northwest Airlines.
Additionally, Rowan created a fake Facebook page in the name of one of Hecker's ex-girlfriends and posted a semi-nude photograph of her on that page, along with comments suggesting that she was soliciting sexual activity, according to the government. Rowan also allegedly lied to try to gain access to the apartment of another of Hecker's ex-girlfriends, although without success.
The government accuses Rowan of providing false information on her tax returns for the year 2006, lying to a U.S. probation officer by stating that she had finished making payments on the Range Rover obtained for Hecker, falsely telling that same probation officer that she had been employed by Hecker, falsely claiming that she was an independent contractor for one of Hecker's companies when she filed for unemployment benefits, and writing checks from an empty bank account at Wayzata-based TCF Financial, thus resulting in a loss for the bank.
“This guideline range is largely driven by the small loss amount to Endura Financial” incurred for the Range Rover, the government said about its sentencing recommendation. “But the crimes committed by this defendant were in no way small-she blatantly created false documents, lied to a lender, and lied under oath, all to help further a large bankruptcy fraud scheme.”
The government added that a six-month sentence “reflects the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant, for whom deception appears to have become a way of life.”
Rowan said in court documents that she agreed to make restitution with Endura Financial and that she agreed to-and has thus far-cooperated with prosecutors under the terms of her plea agreement.
Rowan's pre-sentencing papers indicate that her children-ages 14 and 6-“rely on their mother for all of their daily needs, and it would be very difficult for them to lose the care and comfort of their mom for any period of time.” Incarceration would be especially difficult given the fact that Rowan and her children have been evicted from their current residence and must move within a week, the documents state.