The three men charged with crimes in connection with the financial collapse of the Archbold Elevator are currently free on their own recognizance.
William L. “Bill” Fricke, 55, Pettisville, the former owner of the Archbold Elevator Company, and two employees, Steven A. Brink, 60, Archbold, and Todd J. Gerig, 36, West Unity, were indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury, Monday, April 15.
Scott Haselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney, said Fricke had an initial appearance in Fulton County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, April 17. He was released on his own recognizance.
When a court releases someone on his own recognizance, he is not required to post money or property to guarantee he will appear at all court hearings.
The procedure is sometimes known as an “OR bond.”
Brink had an initial appearance on Tuesday, April 16, the day after the indictments were handed down.
Gerig appeared in court on Thursday, April 18, for his initial appearance.
The court ordered all three men to report to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio for fingerprinting, DNA samples, and photographs.
Linda Shambarger, spokesman at CCNO, said as of Monday afternoon, Fricke and Brink had been to the facility.
Gerig appeared later for fingerprinting, a DNA sample, and a photograph.
None were ever held at the regional jail.
The next step in the legal procedure for all three is an arraignment.
During the arraignment, the men will be formally advised of the charges against them, and they will enter pleas to the charges.
Their bonds can also be reviewed.
Haselman said the arraignments have not been scheduled.
Fricke was indicted on 11 counts, including grand theft, tampering with evidence, tampering with records, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and misapplication of corporate assets.
The offenses were allegedly committed from as early as March 2009 to as late as May 4, 2011.
Brink and Gerig were indicted on nine counts, including grand theft, falsification, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
The offenses for which Brink and Gerig were indicted allegedly occurred between May 18, 2009, and April 8, 2011.
The Archbold Elevator license to handle grain was suspended by the Ohio Department of Agriculture on April 11, 2011.
ODA inspectors found company liabilities exceeded its assets, and 50,000 bushels of corn were missing from the bins.
Most farmers who had grain on deposit at the elevator, but had not been paid, received partial compensation through the state Grain Indemnity Fund.
In all, farmers were shorted about $865,000.
Archbold Elevator and its related businesses were put into receivership after the Farmers & Merchants State Bank filed a lawsuit demanding repayment of $4.9 million in loans.
Eventually, Archbold Elevator and its related businesses were sold.–David Pugh