Former foster care director pleads guilty

MIAMI COUNTY — The former executive director of a foster care agency entered a plea of guilty for stealing money from the organization.

On Wednesday, Kelley Gunter, 54, of Troy, entered a guilty plea to one count of third-degree felony aggravated theft in Miami County Common Pleas Court with Judge Stacy Wall presiding.

Gunter was indicted by a grand jury for stealing funds from Isaiah’s Place foster care agency in Troy. A third-degree felony aggravated theft is for theft in the range of more than $150,000 but less than $750,000.

A joint plea agreement was filed to recommend community control. She could face nine to 36 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A restitution and evidentiary hearing was set for Sept. 18 to determine the amount of money Gunter must repay to the organization. The sentencing date will be set following the hearing.

At the time of the incident, 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, Gunter’s mother started the agency.

Gunter’s co-defendant and brother Matthew Gunter, 57, of Troy, pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree felony grand theft on March 18. He faces 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. A joint recommendation of community control was recommended. A sentencing date has not been set.

TheTroy Police Department executed a search warrant to retrieve financial records on Nov. 23, 2016. Financial records were reviewed by Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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, 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.