GREEN BAY, Wisc. (From news reports) -- A former Brown County businessman who was sentenced in a 2017 case to repay $9.4 million to victims of his business fraud has been ordered by a federal judge this month to begin repaying at least $200 a month.
Ron Van Den Heuvel, who formerly headed Green Box of De Pere, was sentenced Jan. 23, 2019, to 7½ years in prison. He was released early from federal prison because of the COVID-19 epidemic. He has been living in the Cheboygan, Michigan, area, and has been earning income, U.S. District Judge William Griesbach wrote in a five-page decision last week.
The order requires him to begin making repayments of $200 a month, or 10% of his net earnings, whichever is greater, and to pay 100% of his federal and state income tax refunds. Van Den Heuvel is to begin repayments within 30 days of Griesbach's order, which is dated Nov. 23.
Though Van Den Heuvel was not scheduled to be released from federal custody until May 26, 2025, under terms of his original sentence, Griesbach wrote, the government contends he is able to work and should be paying restitution. The government states, "multiple witnesses have reported to the government that he is in fact earning money."
Van Den Heuvel was sentenced in federal court to 7.5 years in prison, and ordered to repay $9.4 million to victims of what prosecutors had charged as wire fraud.
The U.S. government has asked the court to order Van Den Heuvel to begin paying restitution under what the terms were supposed to be under supervised released, Griesbach wrote. He noted that "Van Den Heuvel failed to notify either the court or the Attorney General of this change, nor has he made any restitution payments since his transfer to 'home confinement.'"
Based on these allegations, the government asked Griesbach "to modify the restitution order in these cases to require Van Den Heuvel to begin paying restitution now, on the same terms as if he were on supervised release."
Multiple criminal and civil cases were brought against Van Den Heuvel related to his business, Green Box, and the technology that he touted to investors as a way to convert food-contaminated waste into reusable paper and plastic products.
Prosecutors alleged that, between 2011 and 2015, Van Den Heuvel defrauded investors out of $9.4 million and used millions of those dollars to pay past debts, buy Packers tickets and provide his family with a lavish lifestyle.