Roselle man accused of fraud, extortion
January 10, 2014
Leo Sibenaller, of Roselle, criticized the Carroll County Board of Supervisors in 2011 for what he said is an unfair ordinance that would require annual inspections of Roselle’s privately owned septic systems.
A Roselle man who worked as a fraud investigator for a West Des Moines company that provides insurance to religious institutions is accused of taking a $56,000 check from the company and depositing it in his personal bank account in Templeton.
Leo Fredrick Sibenaller, 51, was charged Thursday with felony fraud and extortion, both of which are punishable by up to five years in prison.
The check that Sibenaller allegedly stole in December 2012 had been mailed to him at GuideOne Insurance, where he managed the company's Special Investigative Unit, court records show.
Sibenaller said "he did it because he was desperate as his house was in foreclosure," wrote Ken Pingrey, chief deputy of the Carroll County Sheriff's office, in a criminal complaint. "At the time of the offense, (Sibenaller's) checking account was overdrawn with a negative $1,811.87 balance."
Sibenaller's home in Roselle is valued at about $214,000, county records show.
The extortion charge stems from Sibenaller's alleged threats to GuideOne workers after the company fired him for the alleged fraud. He allegedly threatened in July 2013 to accuse officers there of crimes and harm the company's reputation if they contested his unemployment-benefits claim.
Sibenaller applied for the benefits, court records show, but it's unclear whether GuideOne resisted the claim because the records are not made public unless there is an appeal.
"GuideOne Insurance can confirm we had an incident in December 2012 that we investigated and turned over to law enforcement," said Sarah Buckley, a spokeswoman for the company. "Beyond that, we are unable to comment on the specifics of the situation."
Sibenaller also declined to comment.
He allegedly made the threats about a month after he bought the Roselle Tavern, county and state records show.
Sibenaller is a Roselle native who has been a leader in his community and at Holy Angels Catholic Church. He is a 1980 Kuemper High School graduate and ran for the Carroll County Board of Supervisors in 2008 but was defeated by Gene Meiners.
He was a vocal opponent in 2011 of a county plan to require annual inspections of privately owned septic systems in Roselle.
Sibenaller worked about 16 years for GuideOne, which bills itself as "one of America's leading church insurers."
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