Jennifer Edelbrock during her arrest at her home in May of 2015 - Putnam Sentinel
Jennifer Edelbrock during her arrest at her home in May of 2015.

TOLEDO — On Thursday, in U.S. District Court, Toledo, Jennifer Edelbrock entered guilty pleas to three counts of bank fraud. Originally charged on seven counts, Edelbrock, 51, Kalida, entered the pleas as the result of a deal with federal investigators.

The charges stemmed from a 2015 investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation into illegal activity Edelbrock conducted as an accountant. That investigation yielded grand theft charges filed against Edelbrock in both Allen and Putnam Counties. Edelbrock pleaded guilty in a Putnam County court on July 27, 2015, for the theft of $17,250 from the Kalida Band Boosters. She again pleaded guilty in an Allen County court on March 22, 2016, for the theft of $19,176.62 from Spencerville VFW Post 6772. Sentencing on the charges resulted in orders requiring Edelbrock to make restitution to both parties, serve 40 days jail time, and serve a concurrent term of three years on community control.

On April 6, federal investigators filed the seven counts of bank fraud. In the indictment, Edelbrock was accused of fraudulently appropriating funds from her clients’ bank accounts — monies supposedly held in trust for payroll expenses, including federal, state and local tax obligations — and depositing the funds into personally held bank accounts, credit card accounts and investment accounts, and one business account — All Seasons Lawn and Recreation LLC, held by her husband, John J. Edelbrock — “for her own enrichment.” The indictment further alleged Edelbrock spent directly from the payroll accounts to meet “personally-held debt obligations.”

According to the federal indictment, “…Edelbrock spent or transferred money from the Payroll Accounts not associated with the proper processing of payroll and tax payments in the approximate amount of $914,170.94.”

“We’re here with an indication of a change of plea,” U.S. Federal Court Judge Jack Zouhary said in opening the hearing. “By way of background, the defendant was charged in seven counts in an indictment that was filed in April of this year. Those seven counts deal with bank fraud. I have been provided with a proposed written plea agreement. The plea agreement asks that the defendant will be pleading to counts two, three and four, with counts one, five, six and seven being dismissed at the time of sentencing. Ms. Edelbrock, it’s my understanding it’s your intention to change your plea of not guilty to a plea of guilty and to be bound by the terms and conditions of a written plea agreement. Is that correct?”

“Yes, your honor,” Edelbrock replied.

From there, Judge Zouhary and Assistant U.S. District Attorney Noah Hood worked through the terms and consequences of the plea deal — including the explicit language of the indictment and the evidence the prosecution would present if the case went to trial — with Edelbrock.

Zouhary then turned to Edelbrock and asked, “Do you still believe it’s in your best interests to enter into this plea agreement?”

“Yes, your honor,” Edelbrock said.

“I find there is an adequate basis for the guilty plea,” Zouhary said.

Edelbrock then signed the agreement, which was executed with the court.

In addition to mandatory restitution, each count carries a possible maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment. However, according to Hood, U.S. sentencing guidelines in this particular case recommend a combined sentence within the range of 41 to 51 months. Even so, sentencing remains the sole discretion of Judge Zouhary, who could impose a greater or lesser sentence.

A sentencing hearing in the matter is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.