GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (From news reports) - A De Pere businessman convicted of defrauding investors could face additional disciplinary action after a federal prosecutor claimed he lied about his progress in repaying victims.
Ron Van Den Heuvel, 67, is serving a 90-month sentence in federal prison for fraud stemming from his operation of Green Box, a business that he pitched to investors as a way to convert food-contaminated waste into reusable paper and plastic products. At sentencing in January 2019, he also was ordered to pay $9.4 million to 14 of the organizations and investors he was found guilty of defrauding.
On Sept. 30, Van Den Heuvel sent a letter to the U.S. District Court of Eastern Wisconsin asking it to reduce the amount of restitution owed in the case to $2.4 million.
He included as evidence a printed list of restitution he owed to specific organizations that was amended with handwritten explanations of the payments he claimed to have made and the new balances he claimed he owed. Notes included that one investor who was owed $3.1 million should be considered repaid because "They took system as payment." Van Den Heuvel claimed another investor who was owed more than $527,000 was only due $200,000 because "(Green Box) completed his Brazil work."
In an Oct. 22 response, federal prosecutors told the court that prison records indicate Van Den Heuvel had only paid $200 in special assessment fees and $25 in restitution to Horicon Bank.
The only repayments made so far, countered U.S. Attorneys Richard Frohling and Timothy Funnell, have come from Van Den Heuvel's partners, who paid down some of the $1.1 million owed to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. WEDC opted in 2018 to write off its loan to Van Den Heuvel because agency officials believed it was unlikely the money could be recouped.
"Van Den Heuvel has paid ... nothing towards restitution, with the only restitution payments coming not from Van Den Heuvel but from his co-defendants, and made to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation," the filing states. "The remaining payees/victims ... have received nothing in restitution from Van Den Heuvel or anyone else."
Frohling asked U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach to make Van Den Heuvel explain his reasons for the court filing, and depending on his explanation, find that he committed perjury.
Frohling also suggested Griesbach share his findings with the Bureau of Prisons for possible disciplinary action, and to the U.S. Probation Office, who will supervise Van Den Heuvel once he completes his sentence.
At the time of his sentencing in the fraud case, Van Den Heuvel was already serving a three-year sentence for defrauding Horicon Bank of more than $300,000 by taking loans based on false representations.
In a plea agreement, Van Den Heuvel acknowledged using investors' money to buy Green Bay Packers tickets, settle legal disputes, make court-ordered payments to his ex-wife, and pay personal bills.