BATAVIA, OH (FOX19) - The saga of Brenda Ashcraft, a former real estate agent indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges, has taken a new turn. She's gotten one of her investors arrested.
Court documents FOX19 obtained at the Clermont County Municipal Courthouse in Batavia show that Ashcraft accuses John Gilbert, a car dealer from West Chester, of harassing her by phone and trespassing on her property. A sworn statement from a detective says a police officer warned Gilbert to stop calling her but continued to do so. The affidavit says this happened in July --- before Ashcraft was indicted. However, authorities didn't arrest Gilbert until he appeared at Ashcraft's home last Saturday.
Gilbert tells FOX19 he was invited there by Ashcraft's husband to pick-up some baseball equipment for his kids. Gilbert says he saw Mrs. Ashcraft come to the door but didn't say anything to her. He left, he claims, after 30 seconds. He also says Ashcraft's husband had offered to mail him the baseball equipment but he wanted to stop by their house.
Gilbert is the same man who trailed the horde of reporters and camera crews following Ashcraft as she left the federal courthouse in downtown Cincinnati in August. In fact, Gilbert offered his own questions and commentary as the group made its way through several city blocks to her attorneys' offices.
"And the bottom line is, she knew from day one she was never going to pay me back," Gilbert said that day. "And she did it with a smile."
He says Ashcraft owes him more than half a million dollars and has ruined his life.
"I'm not guilty! That's why I'm walking!" Ashcraft shouted back at Gilbert at one point during the trek. (FOX19 immediately pointed out to her that being free while awaiting trial has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Judges often allow those accused of white collar crimes to go free during the months preceding their trial.)
Gilbert tells FOX19 he never called Ashcraft names and didn't threaten her during the phone calls that landed him in trouble. He claims he was just trying to find out where his money was.
Still, he pleaded "no contest" this morning in Batavia to a charge of telecommunications harassment. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the trespassing charge. He was ordered to pay $100 in court costs and not to have any contact with Brenda Ashcraft or her family. In addition, he'll be on court-supervised release for three years.
FOX19 attempted to get Ashcraft's side of the story. But her attorney did not get back to us.