Leo Sibenaller
Leo Sibenaller
April 24, 2014

A Roselle man accused of depositing a $56,000 bank check addressed to his former employer into his own bank account in 2012 to avoid home foreclosure admitted to the fraud this morning in court.

"I was in possession of a check - that check was not made out to me," Leo Frederick Sibenaller, 51, told a judge as part of his guilty plea. "I attempted to deposit that in my own personal checking account."

Sibenaller was charged with felony forgery and extortion in January, both punishable by up to five years in prison. He allegedly stole a check in December 2012 that had been mailed to GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines, where he managed a division that investigated insurance fraud.

GuideOne fired Sibenaller after it discovered the alleged theft, and Sibenaller threatened former coworkers in July 2013 that he would accuse them of crimes and harm the company's reputation if they contested his unemployment benefits claim, court documents allege, which led to the extortion charge.

Sibenaller pleaded guilty today to the forgery charge as part of a plea agreement with county prosecutors, who plan to drop the extortion charge. Further, prosecutors will not resist Sibenaller's request for a deferred judgment when he is sentenced in June, in which Sibenaller would not be formally convicted of a crime nor face a prison sentence is he abides by the terms of his probation.

Eric Howe, an assistant Carroll County attorney, said in court today that he will ask a judge to order Sibenaller to pay an unspecified amount of restitution to GuideOne.

Sibenaller is set to be sentenced on June 26.