Archbold, OH

Fricke Pleads Not Guilty To Felony Charges In Archbold Elevator Case

Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of William “Bill” Fricke, 55, Pettisville, in an arraignment, Friday, May 3, in Fulton County Common Pleas Court.

Fricke, former owner of the Archbold Elevator Company, did not speak during the brief hearing.

His attorney, Richard M. Kerger, Toledo, entered not guilty pleas to all 11 charges against Fricke.

A Fulton County Grand Jury handed down the 11- count indictment against Fricke on Monday, April 15.

James Barber, Fulton County Common Pleas Court judge, allowed Fricke to remain free on his own recognizance.

A trial date was set for Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Charges against Fricke include grand theft, tampering with evidence, tampering with records, falsification in a theft offense, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, misapplication of corporate assets, four counts of accepting grain deposits as a grain handler while insolvent, and violation of laws regarding delayed pricing agreements.

The charges stem from the April 12, 2011 suspension of the Archbold Elevator grain handler license. The Ohio Department of Agriculture suspended the company’s license to handle grain after a routine inspection discovered liabilities significantly higher than assets.

ODA officials also determined 50,000 bushels of grain were missing from the elevator bins.

Archbold Elevator and its related companies were placed into receivership. Company assets were sold.

Subsequent investigations by the ODA were referred to Scott Haselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney. His office presented the case to the grand jury.

Two other men, Steven A. Brink 60, Archbold, and Todd J. Gerig, 36, West Unity, also were indicted in connection with the case.

Each faces nine charges including grand theft, tampering with evidence, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Gerig was arraigned Monday, May 6. He entered not guilty pleas to all charges. His own recognizance bond was continued and a trial date was set for Oct. 22.

Brink’s arraignment is today, Wednesday, at 10:30 am.

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