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Prison, restitution ordered for man who stole from Wisconsin religious group

Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to two and a half years in a federal prison for stealing almost a half-million dollars from a religious group.

Milwaukee Federal Judge Charles Clevert ordered Michael Lowstetter to pay $453,000 in restitution.

He stole the money from Shepherds Baptist Ministries of Union Grove from 2009 to 2012. Lowstetter was a vice president for the group, which cares for the developmentally disabled.

His attorney wrote that Lowstetter bought a second home before he could sell his first, and he was, "trapped" by the real estate downturn that was part of the Great Recession.

Officials said Lowstetter kept stealing money after he caught up with his bills.

Last fall, the Washington Post cited this case as one of 22 in Wisconsin in which charities lost millions of dollars to inside thieves since 2008.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)