Leo Sibenaller, of Roselle, shown in this Daily Times Herald archive photo, is expected to plead guilty April 24 for his forgery and extortion case.
Leo Sibenaller, of Roselle, shown in this Daily Times Herald archive photo, is expected to plead guilty April 24 for his forgery and extortion case.
March 28, 2014



The Roselle man accused of taking a $56,000 check from his former employer - a West Des Moines company that insures religious institutions - and later making threats to former coworkers will plead guilty next month to an unspecified criminal charge, court records show.

Leo Fredrick Sibenaller, 51, was charged with felony forgery and extortion in January, both punishable by up to five years in prison.

Sibenaller allegedly stole a check in December 2012 that had been mailed to him at GuideOne Insurance, where he managed a division that investigated insurance fraud.

Sibenaller admitted to taking the check and depositing it in his Templeton bank account to avoid the foreclosure of his house, investigators alleged in a criminal complaint. The Roselle house is valued at $214,000, according to county records.

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.

He allegedly made the threats about a month after he bought the Roselle Tavern.

Sibenaller has declined to comment on the case. He is set to plead guilty on April 24, according to court documents, which did not contain the specifics of the apparent plea deal.

It's common for defendants to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge or for the dismissal of additional charges if they face more than one.

County Attorney John Werden, who is prosecuting the case, could not be reached this morning for comment.

Sibenaller worked about 16 years for GuideOne, which bills itself as "one of America's leading church insurers."