Man gets federal prison sentence for defrauding charity

UNION GROVE (WITI) -- A man who used to live in Wisconsin has been sentenced in connection with defrauding a charity based in Union Grove.

35-year-old Michael Wayne Lowstetter of Xenia, Ohio (formerly of Union Grove, Wisconsin) has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Lowstetter had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud.

A judge also imposed a term of three years’ supervised release, to follow the term of imprisonment, and a special assessment of $200.

According to the plea agreement and other documents filed with the court, Lowstetter defrauded Shepherds Baptist Ministries of more than $400,000 during the 2009-2012 time frame by using his position as Vice President for Finance to divert funds to himself.

Shepherds Baptist Ministries is a faith-based organization headquartered in Union Grove. It provides vocational training and other services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

In addition to the above term of imprisonment, Lowstetter will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $453,737.12 to Sheperds and its insurer.

In sentencing the defendant, a judge noted that the “ripple effects” of his crime, which involved a betrayal of trust, would continue to be felt by Sheperds Ministries and its clients and donors, and by Lowstetter’s family. He also noted that, even in a case where the defendant accepts responsibility and has suffered on account of his actions, it is important that others be deterred from engaging in financial fraud by the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment.