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De Pere businessman pleads not guilty to federal bank fraud charges

Ron Van Den Heuvel (WLUK file image)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Ron Van Den Heuvel is facing federal bank fraud conspiracy charges.

In federal court Friday afternoon, he pleaded not guilty.

The De Pere businessman isn't alone, his wife and their loan officer are being accused of owing more than $1 million in loans. The charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, stem from loans made in 2008 and 2009. They also pleaded not guilty. Van Den Heuvel's wife, Kelly and their loan officer Paul Piikkila also pleaded not guilty Friday.

When FOX 11's Andrew LaCombe talked to Van Den Heuvel last month, Van Den Heuvel said he doesn't believe he's done anything wrong.

As FOX 11 previously reported, the federal indictment alleges that Paul Piikkila, a loan officer at Horicon Bank in Appleton, approved a series of loans totaling more than $1 million. The indictment says Horicon Bank had told Piikkila not to loan any money to Van Den Heuvel, so none of the loans mentioned in the indictment were written to him by name.

During court, the U.S. attorney said, "There are a number of factors of Mr. Van Den Heuvel that give the government pause."

The attorney went on to say Van Den Heuvel claimed his net worth to be more than $700 million but after further review, the court found he only had around $682 in his bank account.

The judge ordered Ron Van Den Heuvel to pay a property bond of $300,000. The court says Van Den Heuvel owned his home but the defense disagreed and told the judge he does not own the home.

The judge noted both sides will have until May 16 to come to an agreement on bond.

Van Den Heuvel's and Piikkila did not comment after court. A trial date was set for July 11.

If convicted Van Den Heuvel could face a maximum penalty of 365 years and Kelly could face up to 65 years behind bars.

Piikkila could face up to five years behind bars if convicted.

Search warrants indicate Van Den Heuvel also defrauded the state's economic development agency.

Van Den Heuvel says his company is still behind on repaying that loan of taxpayer money.

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