GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (From news reports) -- A man who helped persuade the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to grant a bogus solid-waste conversion firm called Green Box $95,000 for training has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud conspiracy charges.
Philip Reinhart of De Pere is scheduled to enter his plea Monday in federal court in Green Bay. The offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Reinhart would likely face substantially less.
According to his plea agreement, Reinhart and an unnamed co-conspirator were hired to create records or purported training sessions at Green Box-Green Bay, run by Ronald Van Den Heuvel of De Pere, already convicted of bank and wire fraud.
Van Den Heuvel claimed his firm had proprietary processes to convert solid waste into consumer products and energy without any wastewater discharge or byproducts that would need landfilling.
"Between approximately 2011 and 2015," Green Box and related entities got money from lenders and investors "under materially false pretenses, representations and promises," according to the plea agreement.
WEDC had offered $95,000 to reimburse Green Box-Green Bay for training workers how to sort waste, make fuel pellets and about liquefaction. At Van Den Heuvel's direction, Reinhart helped create three sets of records showing such training took place -- even though it did not -- and submitted them to WEDC in order to get the money.
Van Den Heuvel has been jailed since July. He is now serving three years for bank fraud, and has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and will be sentenced on that conviction in December.