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Van Den Heuvel sentenced for bank fraud scheme

Ron Van Den Heuvel (WLUK file image)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- After multiple legal maneuvers failed to delay Friday’s hearing, Ron Van Den Heuvel was sentenced to three years in federal prison and three years supervised release in a bank fraud scheme.

The owner of De Pere-based Green Box was also ordered to pay $316,445.79 in restitution.

"I didn't attempt ever to defraud anybody," Van Den Heuvel said before the sentence was issued. "I'm sorry if I did something wrong."

Judge William Griesbach noted there wasn't one lapse of judgement; there were seven loans which used straw borrowers to funnel him money. He called Van Den Heuvel's actions "flagant fraud" which required punishment.

Van Den Heuvel, his wife and Paul Piikkila, who worked at Horicon Bank, were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud after illegally obtaining loans for Van Den Heuvel’s business. Piikkila agreed to testify in the case and reached a plea deal. He will be sentenced Feb. 7. The charges against Kelly Van Den Heuvel were dismissed as part of the plea deal with her husband.

Ron Van Den Heuvel pleaded guilty to one count -- more than a dozen other charges were dismissed -- at a hearing in October. But at the hearing, Van Den Heuvel insisted several times he had no intention of breaking the law, prompting an admonishment by Judge Griesbach, who told Van Den Heuvel that if the guilty plea was accepted, he couldn’t later argue he was innocent. Van Den Heuvel entered the guilty plea, but it turns out that was just setting the stage for more legal wrangling.

In the weeks leading up to Friday’s hearing, Van Den Heuvel and his attorney filed three motions to the delay the sentencing, arguing newly discovered evidence would have an impact on the case. Also, Van Den Heuvel tried to withdraw his plea, and his attorney tried to leave the case. Judge Griesbach met privately in chambers with Van Den Heuvel and his attorney for more than 20 minutes Friday before the judge instructed attorney Robert LeBell to finish the hearing today.

Judge Greisbach noted Van Den Heuvel did not own up to his actions, saying there was "little hope of rehabilitation" when he isn't honest with himself about what he did.

After court, Van Den Heuvel declined comment to Fox 11.

He also faces prosecution in a second case, which is still pending. A scheduling conference will be held March 16. In that case, prosecutors allege Van Den Heuvel raised more than $9 million from investors, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., for his company, Green Box, but used some of the money on personal items, including a car and Packers tickets. If convicted of all 14 counts, he faces up 240 years in prison and more than $2.5 million in fines.

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