De Pere businessman sentenced to federal prison for bank fraud

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A De Pere man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for bank fraud.

Ron Van Den Heuvel, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Horicon Bank between 2008 and 2009.

In Jan. 2008, Van Den Heuvel convinced loan officer Paul Piikkila to approve a $250,000 loan to one of Van Den Heuvel's companies.

However, the bank deemed Van Den Heuvel a credit risk and ordered Piikkila not to loan money to Van Den Heuvel in the future.

Federal prosecutors say Van Den Heuvel and Piikkila skirted the order by arranging a series of loans, worth $1 million, to straw borrowers.

The straw borrowers believed Van Den Heuvel would pay back the money. These borrowers included Van Den Heuvel's nanny and his administrative assistant.

Van Den Heuvel failed to repay many of these loans, prosecutors say.

During sentencing, federal Judge William Griesbach said, "Mr. Van Den Heuvel presents himself as a selfless entrepreneur and philanthropist even today. It is a lie."

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Van Den Heuvel to three years of probation and to pay $316,445.79 in restitution to the bank.

Piikkila pleaded guilty to conspiracy and will be sentenced in February.