MIAMI COUNTY — As details of expenses were read aloud in court Wednesday — including tens of thousands of dollars spent at casinos in three states — the former executive director of the nonprofit Isaiah’s Place, Kelley Gunter, and her defense attorney Jeffrey Slyman and Miami County Prosecutor Paul Watkins, came to an agreement of restitution owed to the foster care agency during a hearing held in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Troy Police Department Detective Chris Baker was the first and lone witness to testify the amount Gunter owed to the foster care agency. The Troy Police Department executed a search warrant to retrieve financial records on Nov. 23, 2016. Financial records were reviewed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Baker confirmed line items of bank statements and Ohio Bureau of Investigation forensic accounts for nearly two hours before the agreement was reached.
Slyman said Gunter would stipulate to paying $110,000 to Isaiah’s Place in restitution. Slyman said Gunter has paid back $41,300 to the agency to date.
Baker testified to nearly 100 expense line items recorded by the agency’s bank statement before an agreement was reached.
According to Baker, forensic accounting showed Kelley Gunter spent $126,445 at casinos, $31,500 in cash withdraws, $8,533 to a local contractor for home repairs and remodeling, $5,816 at Rendezvous Hair Salon in Columbus, $3,163 at Hanson Audio, $2,865 at Menards, $1,013 at Sundown Tanning, $968 for pool supplies and $876 for pet supplies. The bank statements began in November 2015 before the hearing ended at the month of September 2016’s expenses.
Some expenses included a $414.83 dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Cincinnati, along with $8,000 spent at Horseshoe Casino in one day. In June 2016, Gunter spent approximately $26,000 at casinos during that month — $14,000 of that amount in a one-week period that same month.
Gunter’s financial records disclosed that she traveled to casinos in Cincinnati, Columbus, Lawrenceburg, Ind., and MGM Casino in Detroit, Mich.
During the hearing, Baker said Kelley Gunter’s brother Matthew Gunter reported the misappropriation of funds in November 2016 because the agency was about to be audited.
Matthew Gunter, 58, of Troy, the former chief financial officer of the foster care nonprofit was sentenced to serve five years of community control and ordered to pay back $34,912 to the agency on Aug. 28. Judge Wall sentenced him to serve five years on community control for third-degree felony aggravated theft. Matthew Gunter reported the theft in office to attorney Bob Huffman in 2016. Gunter then cooperated with Troy Police Department detectives who conducted a search warrant at the foster agency’s office on Nov. 23, 2016, to gather evidence from the agency’s computers and financial records.
During the interview with Matthew Gunter, Baker said he claimed his sister Kelley was spending large amounts of cash at casinos and “trying to win it for Isaiah’s Place.”
Around November 2016, it was reported the foster care agency had more than 100 children from 10 different counties in its care. The counties would pay Isaiah’s Place for their foster care services. According to reports, the Gunters’ mother started the agency.
According to the police investigation, Kelley Gunter used the organization’s funds to withdrawal large amounts of cash to spend at local casinos, paid a contractor for a home remodel project, items for her private pool, weight loss services, salon services up to $1,100 per visit, tanning, nail services, jewelry and clothing stores and cash advances. She reportedly spent up to $127,782 at casinos, including hotels, food and clothing.
The Gunters also purchased University of Dayton basketball tickets for $10,000, Bengals game tickets and vacations. Matthew Gunter admitted to using funds to purchase a home theater system and trips.
Isaiah’s Place has since replaced its board and is under a new executive director. According to its website, the agency currently serves 80 children from 15 counties.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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