March 31, 2014

The Roselle man accused of fraudulently depositing a $56,000 check meant for his former employer into his personal bank account might avoid a felony conviction next month as part of a plea deal, according to court documents.

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 GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines, where he managed a division that investigated insurance fraud.

Sibenaller admitted to taking the check 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.

Sibenaller is expected to plead guilty to the forgery charge on April 24, according to a plea deal that was filed in district court this morning.

As part of the deal Carroll County Attorney John Werden will dismiss the extortion charge and won't resist Sibenaller's request for a deferred judgment, in which Sibenaller would not be formally convicted of a crime nor face a prison sentence if he abides by the terms of his probation.

Sibenaller might be ordered to pay an unspecified amount of restitution, court documents show.

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.