Judge gives warning to Miami County man accused of $35K nonprofit theft

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A Troy man convicted along with his sister in 2019 of stealing thousands of dollars from a nonprofit that works with foster care agencies was back in court Tuesday, Sept. 29, for failing to pay restitution ordered as part of his sentence.

Isaiah’s Place in Troy hasn’t “received a dime since your sentencing,” Judge Stacy Wall told Matthew C. Gunter, 59, during a review hearing in Miami County Common Pleas Court.

Gunter said he had made some small payments on $35,000 in restitution but that money was applied to court costs before anything would go to restitution, Wall said.

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“Even if it (payments) went to restitution, it was only between $500 and $700. It doesn’t get anywhere near paying off $35,000,” Wall said.

Gunter asked why he wasn’t given credit for some $2,500 he paid back to Isaiah’s Place before his conviction and sentencing. Wall explained the restitution amount was agreed to in court and was part of Gunter’s sentence. Any money paid previously was not included in that figure and not discussed at sentencing, she said.

“So, I gave them a gift?” a visibly annoyed Gunter asked the judge.

Wall reiterated the amount agreed to in court was the restitution she expects will be paid. “That means you need a more aggressive plan to get that amount paid,” she said, noting he only has four years left now to pay the full amount.

“Isaiah’s Place is saying, ‘I haven’t seen one payment of restitution.’ The court has to look out for the victim,” Wall said.

Gunter pleaded to grand theft and was sentenced in August 2019 to five years of community control with conditions including paying the restitution.

His sister, Kelley Gunter, 55, of Troy pleaded to aggravated theft and also received five years of community control. Her agreed to restitution was for $110,000. A hearing for Kelley Gunter, now accused of violating her community control conditions for not paying restitution of $1,833 a month, not paying supervision fees and failing to obtain and maintain full time employment was scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30, but continued because she has new lawyers, according to court documents.

Kelley Gunter was Isaiah’s Place’s executive director while her brother was the fiscal officer.

Wall told Matthew Gunter she would review his case again in 60 days to see if he starts making consistent payments toward restitution. If that doesn’t occur, she reminded him she could impose a local jail sentence or terminate his community control and put him in prison. “That is not in anyone’s best interest,” Wall said.

Isaiah’s Place was founded in 2003 and is a Christian-based agency that works with foster agencies in 15 counties.

It has been under new administrators and a new board since early 2017.

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