MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (From news reports) -- A De Pere businessman was indicted on charges he fraudulently obtained more than $9 million in loans and investments, including from Wisconsin taxpayers, for his "Green Box" business plan but was using much of the money for his own use, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Ronald Van Den Heuvel, 62, spent the money on a new Cadillac Escalade, pricey Green Bay Packers tickets, and court-ordered support payments to his ex-wife and creditors, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Van Den Heuvel faces 14 counts in the indictment handed down late Tuesday by the grand jury in Milwaukee.
He had been indicted on bank fraud charges in 2016, less than a year after revelations that he had received $1.2 million in separate but also questionable loans from state taxpayers through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
A longtime contributor to state politicians, Van Den Heuvel has sought help for his businesses both in Wisconsin and in other states and received public assistance under the administration of at least three governors, including Scott Walker.
According to court documents:
From 2011 through 2015, Van Den Heuvel was a businessman in the Green Bay area promoting his Green Box process, claiming he could turn post-consumer waste from sources like fast-food restaurants completely into usable consumer products and energy.
Van Den Heuvel received more than $9 million in loans and investments, falsely promising to use the funds for Green Box operations.
Besides defrauding WEDC, Van Den Heuvel is accused of ripping off a Canadian private investment firm and Chinese investors in the EB-5 immigrant investor program.
In October 2011, WEDC provided Green Box NA Green Bay LLC, one of Van Den Heuvel's companies, with a loan of about $1.2 million. The funds were to be used to buy equipment to create 116 jobs.
Instead, Van Den Heuvel diverted much of it to himself and then submitted false certifications claiming to have spent the funds properly.
In addition, in January 2012, WEDC awarded Green Box NA Green Bay LLC a $95,500 grant to reimburse the company for the costs of training new workers. To get that money, Van Den Heuvel submitted fraudulent time records for training that never happened.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit this week against Van Den Heuvel and Green Box Detroit, alleging he broke securities laws by defrauding the Canadian investment firm and other investors.
If convicted, Van Den Heuvel faces up 20 years in prison, though he would be likely to get far less time under federal sentencing guidelines.
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