A former Minnesota auto dealer will be released from a halfway house where he's lived since serving most of a 10-year sentence in federal prison.

A former Minnesota auto dealer will be released from a halfway house where he's lived since serving most of a 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Denny Hecker, 65, was released from the Minneapolis halfway house Thursday, The Pioneer Press reported .

At one point, Hecker owned 26 car dealerships and a car rental agency, but his financial success took a turn during the Great Recession as the economy struggled and car sales decreased.

Hecker filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, when he owed $767 million. He was sentenced in 2011 after pleading guilty to bankruptcy and wire fraud.

Prosecutors say he took tens of millions from auto lenders, including Chrysler Financial, to live an opulent lifestyle.

Hecker originally was scheduled to be released from prison in 2018, but was given an early release because he participated in a drug and alcohol program while incarcerated.

Barbara May, Hecker's attorney, said her client has a car, job and a place to live once he's released.

"He sounds fabulous," May said. "He's upbeat; he's really looking forward to moving on. He's got lots of business ideas."

Hecker plans to remain close to his family in the Twin Cities, May said.