GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Caledonia man convicted in 2012 of pilfering thousands of dollars from a prominent West Michigan florist pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling from his most recent employer to pay rent and bills.
Marc Wayne Eisbrener’s debt included $345,000 in restitution to Ludema’s Florist and Gifts, an iconic business on Eastern Avenue SE run by his former in-laws.
He faced up to 15 years in prison, but was sentenced to five years’ probation and a year in jail with work release so Eisbrener could begin chipping away at the court-ordered restitution.
He quickly landed a job at Rev Business Solutions, a promotional printing company in Ada with an understanding owner.
Rev owner William Reynolds even vouched for Eisbrener’s character in an Aug. 2012 letter to the judge who sentenced him for the Ludema embezzlement.
Within two years, Reynolds began noticing financial discrepancies and phony invoices sent to clients, including one for $5,900 to Buzz’s Lakeside Inn in Whitehall.
Reynolds discovered that Eisbrener, 33, had taken checks from the office. He used one to pay $1,700 to his landlord, court records show.
Checks were stolen on six occasions, most recently in June, 2015, Detective Randy Haverkamp wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
Losses were pegged at $60,000 and included a fabricated check for $20,105 Eisbrener used “to pay back some of the debt,’’ Haverkamp wrote in the Aug. 6 probable cause affidavit.
At that point, Eisbrener wasn’t going anywhere. He was locked up in July for violating conditions of probation, including trips to Illinois and failing to pay restitution to Ludema’s.
His probation was yanked and Eisbrener was sentenced July 8th to between 5 and 15 years in prison.
Eisbrener on Monday pleaded guilty in Kent County Circuit Court to embezzling between $50,000 and $100,000. In exchange for his plea, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to drop a habitual offender charge and two forgery cases pending in district court.
He’ll be back in court for sentencing in February.