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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

De Pere Businessman Indicted for $9 Million Green Energy Fraud

United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad, of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that the grand jury indicted Ronald Van Den Heuvel (age: 62) of De Pere, on wire fraud and money laundering charges today.  The indictment alleges that Van Den Heuvel fraudulently obtained over $9 million in loans and investments for his eco-friendly “Green Box” business plan but diverted much of the funds to his own purposes. 

From 2011 through 2015, Ronald Van Den Heuvel was a businessman in the Green Bay area promoting his Green Box process.  The indictment alleges that Van Den Heuvel claimed that the Green Box process could turn post-consumer waste from sources like fast food restaurants completely into usable consumer products and energy.  Van Den Heuvel obtained over $9 million in loans and investments, having falsely pledged to use the funds for Green Box operations.  Van Den Heuvel spent much of the funds to pay old debts and personal expenses, including a new Cadillac Escalade, pricey Green Bay Packers tickets, and court-ordered support payments to his ex-wife. 

As alleged in the indictment, Van Den Heuvel defrauded a range of victims, including individual acquaintances, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a Canadian private investment firm, and Chinese investors in the EB-5 immigrant investor program.  In October 2011, the WEDC provided Green Box NA Green Bay, LLC, one of Van Den Heuvel’s companies, with a loan of $1,116,000.  The funds were to be used solely to purchase certain equipment to allow for the creation of 116 jobs in a Green Box operation in De Pere, Wisconsin.  Instead, Van Den Heuvel diverted large amounts of WEDC funding to his own ends and then submitted false certifications claiming to have spent the funds properly.  In addition, in January 2012, the WEDC awarded Green Box NA Green Bay, LLC with a $95,500 grant to reimburse the company for the costs of training new workers.  To draw the grant funds, Van Den Heuvel submitted fraudulent time records for training that never happened. 

Separately, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that it filed a civil lawsuit against Van Den Heuvel and Green Box Detroit, LLC, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  The SEC alleges that Van Den Heuvel violated securities laws by defrauding the Canadian investment firm and EB-5 investors.  The case is United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. Ronald Van Den Heuvel and Green Box NA Detroit, LLC, Case No. 17-CV-1261. 

Counts One to Ten of the indictment charge Van Den Heuvel with executing the scheme to defraud by use of interstate wire communications, in violation of Title 18, United States Code § 1343.  On each of these counts, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for not more than twenty years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, plus a mandatory $100 special assessment and a period of supervised release not to exceed three years.

Counts Eleven through Fourteen charge Van Den Heuvel with unlawful financial transactions involving the ill-gotten gains, in violation of Title 18, United States Code § 1957.  On each of these counts, a convicted defendant would face imprisonment for not more than 5 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, plus the mandatory $100 special assessment and a term of supervised release not to exceed three years.

The criminal case leading to the indictment is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mel S. Johnson, Matthew D. Krueger, and Rebecca L. Taibleson.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.          

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Updated September 20, 2017