Rowan Gets Max. 14-Month Sentence in Hecker Fraud
The latest saga in the Denny Hecker case came to a close Tuesday when U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen handed down the maximum 14-month sentence to Christi Rowan, who is reported to be Hecker's new wife.
In addition to the prison sentence, Rowan was ordered to pay $36,098.15 in restitution and will be under supervised release for five years after she serves her sentence. She has requested to serve her sentence at a federal prison camp in Greensville, Illinois.
Rowan, who reportedly married Hecker earlier this month over the phone, 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 Rowan's plea agreement, she falsified a W-2 form in April 2009 in an attempt to qualify for a loan for a Range Rover sought by Hecker. She 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.
After initially pleading guilty, Rowan faced a maximum sentence of six months in prison, but she was arrested last month for violating the terms of her release, which prompted prosecutors to recommend a longer, 12- to 14-month sentence.
According to court documents, Rowan obtained $9,000 in estate assets from a dividend check and deposited the check into Hecker's bank account. She then allegedly withdrew the money without disclosing the funds to the bankruptcy court-thereby violating the terms of her release, which prohibited her from using or transferring any and all estate property.
Prosecutors also alleged that Rowan used gift cards that were supposed to be liquidated and used to reimburse the government for Hecker's public defender.
In pre-sentencing papers, the government argued that Rowan has demonstrated “a pattern of deception” over a period of many years.
Rowan is the fourth defendant to be sentenced for crimes related to Hecker's fraud. Hecker received the maximum 10-year-prison sentence last month for his role in the fraud. James Gustafson was sentenced to two years probation, 120 hours of community service, and a $1,000 fine. Steven Leach received a sentence of 27 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $14.2 million in restitution.