Jennifer Ann Edelbrock - Putnam Sentinel
Jennifer Edelbrock at a sentencing hearing in Putnam County in Nov. 2016. (File photo.)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Shortly before noon on May 29, 2015 officials with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Delphos Police Department arrested Jennifer Ann Edelbrock at her Kalida home. The arrest warrant issued that day was for a single count of passing bad checks in an amount over $7,500, a felony offense of the fourth degree.

Now, according to an indictment unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio this past Friday, April 6, Edelbrock faces seven counts of bank fraud for the allegedly obtaining at least $914,000 by fraudulent means, transferring the funds from clients’ bank accounts to the account of All Seasons Lawn and Recreation LLC, which was owned by her husband.

According to a Department of Justice release, Edelbrock allegedly used her position with her clients to obtain money and funds from financial institutions that she was supposed to hold in trust to pay her clients’ payroll expenses, including federal, state and local tax obligations. She concealed the late payment of taxes because notices of delinquencies and penalties often went only to Edelbrock.

She also allegedly manipulated her clients’ payroll obligations by adding certain amounts (sometimes $25 to $90 per pay period) to the employer responsibility for taxes above and beyond what the employer actually owed. Edelbrock then used the amount she overcharged for her own personal enrichment, according to the indictment.

When speaking with Mike Tobin from the U.S. Attorney’s office, he confirmed that, should Edelbrock be convicted, each count could carry a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in Federal prison. However, Tobin cautioned that this would be, “highly unusual,” and that the court considers a number of factors when determining sentencing.

On August 26, 2015, Edelbrock was sentenced in Putnam County to 40 days in jail and three years of supervision for the theft of $17,250, a fourth degree felony. Edelbrock stole monies from the Kalida Band Boosters, a charge she confessed to on July 27 of that year while arranging for a plea deal.

On May 21, 2016, Edelbrock entered another guilty plea in Allen County Common Pleas court. Again, the plea was for grand theft, a fourth degree felony. The charge stemmed from the misappropriation of $19,990.37 from Bowersock Brothers VFW Post 6772, Spencerville. In November of that year, Edelbrock was sentenced by Judge Jeffrey Reed to three years community control and also ordered to make full restitution to the VFW. During that sentencing, it was noted that Edelbrock made full restitution to the Kalida Band Boosters and has conformed without incident to community control sanctions.

During Edelbrock’s sentencing hearing in Allen County in 2016, Assistant Prosecutor Terri Kohlrieser acknowledged that Edelbrock had no significant criminal history and the non-violent nature of the offense. However, she did reference statements Edelbrock made as part of the pre-sentencing investigation, suggesting that Edelbrock was not sufficiently remorseful. Kohlrieser stated that, in the statement, Edelbrock rationalized her offense as a struggle to, “make ends meet.”

“I just want the court to put this into perspective,” Kohlrieser said at the time. “This is not Jean Valjean from Les Mis stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. This is not someone going into WalMart and stealing a canned good because they’re starving to death. This is someone who lives in a very comfortable home in a very comfortable subdivision in Kalida. When we talk about making ends meet, I don’t think Miss Edelbrock really understands what it means to ‘make ends meet.’ Her statements that she makes in that regard I think are very belittling, maybe not intentionally, but belittling to those people who are struggling to get by, who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, who don’t know where they’re going to sleep tonight. What she couldn’t do is keep up with the Joneses. I point that out because it goes to her remorsefulness and her genuine understanding of her offense.”