LIMA — A prosecutor was a little perturbed Tuesday by the statement a former Delphos accountant made who stole money from a veterans group saying she was just “trying to make ends meet.”
“I want the court to put this in perspective. This is not Jean Valjean from Les Miserables stealing a loaf of bread to feed her family,” said Terri Kohlrieser, an assistant Allen County prosecutor.
Kohlrieser spoke at the sentencing hearing for Jennifer Edelbrock on the charge of grand theft for stealing $19,176 from the Spencerville Veterans of Foreign Wars post. Judge Jeffrey Reed sentenced her to three years probation and ordered her to pay back the money she stole.
Edelbrock said she paid back $5,000 and Reed ordered the $10,000 bond she posted to be forfeited to pay toward restitution.
Edelbrock’s attorney, Bob Grzybowski, said Edelbrock’s statement about making ends meet really was meant to suggest she wanted to find a way to pay back the money she stole.
But Kohlrieser didn’t take it that way. Edelbrock told an officer interviewing her for a background report to give to the judge she was just trying to make ends meet. Kohlrieser said Edelbrock lived in a nice home in a Kalida subdivision with a swimming pool.
“When we talk about making ends meet I don’t think Mrs. Edelbrock understands what it really means to make ends meet,” Kohlrieser said. “What she couldn’t do is keep up with the Joneses. Having the nicest car, a pool, is the things for her that were making ends meet.”
Regardless of what was said, Grzybowski said Edelbrock was publically shamed and lost her career.
“She does understand she has a very comfortable life,” he said. “She does not mean to belittle anybody or anything. She understands and acknowledges her actions were wrong.”
Edelbrock apologized while acknowledging she lived beyond her means.
“The VFW entrusted me to do what was right and I didn’t,” she said.
The 49-year-old Edelbrock also apologized to her clients and said she hoped they don’t harbor anger that eats them up inside. Reed stopped her in mid-sentence, however, telling her to be careful because the current case only is about the VFW.
Kohlrieser said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation continues to look at Edelbrock’s records and files to determine if she stole from anyone else.
Edelbrock was part of the Edelbrock-Reitz accounting firm at 945 E. Fifth St. in Delphos. Authorities raided the firm on May 19, 2015, as part of an investigation into financial crimes. Complaints to police officials about the firm led to the investigation and raid.
She also was convicted of stealing $17,250 from the Kalida Band Boosters. She received 40 days in jail was ordered to pay the money back and placed on three years probation. She said in court Tuesday she has made full restitution in that case.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.