By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Christi Rowan-Hecker, the wife of beleaguered auto mogul Denny Hecker, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for stealing money that belonged to Hecker’s creditors.

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That’s the maximum sentence applicable to the charges Rowan-Hecker faced for committing bankruptcy and wire fraud. Rowan-Hecker was also ordered to pay about $36,000 in restitution and serve five years of probation.

Rowan-Hecker, who was just recently married to Hecker in an over-the-phone ceremony, had been accused of continuing to use American Express accounts even after a judge ordered the accounts to be seized by the FBI. She pleaded guilty to bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud last year after admitting that she lied on a credit application to purchase a Land Rover for Hecker.

She also admitted to falsifying a W2, claiming she was an attorney for the parent company of KARE-TV, when in reality, she was a salesperson for the station.

U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen earlier threw out a plea deal that would’ve let Rowan-Hecker serve zero to six months in prison. The judge appeared infuriated that Rowan-Hecker had used the credit accounts to charge luxury items such as a $400 hair appointment. Prosecutors say she also spent thousands of dollars in gift cards that were supposed to be turned over to authorities.

“It’s mind-boggling to take money that was in the custody of the court and the FBI,” Ericksen said on Tuesday morning. “It takes your breath away.”

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Ericksen said Rowan-Hecker deserved the maximum sentence because of the seriousness and brazenness of her actions. She said her conduct showed Rowan-Hecker had no respect for the law.

Rowan-Hecker’s attorney asked for leniency, saying she was one of Hecker’s victims.

Rowan-Hecker, dressed in a white blouse and black skirt, showed no emotion as she was sentenced.

In an unusual move, Rowan was allowed contact with her children following the sentencing. Her 14-year-old sobbed during and after the sentencing.

Rowan-Hecker is asking to serve her sentence at a prison camp in Greenville, Illinois. Minnesota does not have any minimum security federal prison camps for women. With good behavior, Rowan-Hecker could be out in less than a year.

Hecker has been sentenced to 10 years for bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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Esme Murphy