Brother, sister charged in theft of more than $500K from Miami County nonprofit

A prosecutor Monday said a Troy brother and sister are suspected of stealing more than $500,000 from a nonprofit that works with foster agencies.

Kelley E. Gunter, 53, and Matthew C. Gunter, 57, are formally charged with aggravated theft of at least $150,000 but less than $750,000 between Jan. 1, 2014, and Nov. 9, 2016. The charges are third-degree felonies, which carry possible prison terms of up to three years and a $10,000 fine. Pretrial hearings for the Gunters were scheduled for Feb. 4.

Assistant County Prosecutor Paul Watkins said that the amount taken now totals more than $500,000, according to the investigation.

Not guilty pleas were approved for both during arraignments Monday in county Common Pleas Court. The brother and sister were released on their own recognizance with conditions of no contact with the victim agency or their co-defendant.

An investigation was initiated in late 2016 when Troy police said they obtained a search warrant for the agency offices at 1100 Wayne St. in Troy. The search was sparked by allegations of theft by Kelley Gunter, who subsequently resigned as agency director, and Matthew Gunter, who was terminated in November 2016 as financial officer.

An affidavit filed in 2016 in county Municipal Court outlined allegations of an agency employee – Matthew Gunter - who told police in November 2016 that agency funds had been used for gambling, casino trips, home repairs, vacations, sporting event tickets, clothing and tanning sessions, among other expenses.

The alleged misuse was revealed by Matthew Gunter before an audit because he knew the audit would disclose the problems, according to the search warrant.

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.

In the search warrant inventory, police reported seizing computers along with payroll and bank records, receipts, tax paperwork, board meeting information and other paperwork, according to the inventory from the search filed with the court.

Troy Police Capt. Jeff Kunkleman said investigators in 2016 contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for advice because of the number of documents seized.

After the removal of both Gunters, Isaiah’s Place appointed a new board of directors in December of 2016 and hired a new executive director, Bob Lybarger, in January of 2017.

“The agency has moved on,” Lybarger said. “We have added a nationally recognized, evidenced-based training course for our foster parents, and we added an office in Hillsboro, Ohio. Later this year, we will be offering behavioral health services, and we are working hard to connect the surrounding community, including local churches, with the needs of the foster care community. We welcome anyone who would like to help us by becoming a foster parent, a respite parent, a donor, a partner or a volunteer.”

The agency has received overwhelming community support in the past two years since the removal of the Gunters, said Lybarger, who added, “We are grateful for the dedicated foster parents who are opening up their homes to help children dealing with traumatic situations.”

Isaiah’s Place is a therapeutic foster care agency. It received Better Business Bureau charity accreditation in 2018.

Isaiah's Place website is

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