Ex-head of charity sentenced to prison for embezzlement

Associated Press

The former leader of a Michigan charity for children and families was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison for embezzling about $250,000.

John Lynch of Grosse Pointe Park also must serve six months in a halfway house, a federal judge said.

Lynch, 57, was chief financial officer and then chief executive at Holy Cross, which provides social services in parts of Michigan.

Prosecutors had asked for a longer prison sentence, noting that Lynch used Holy Cross money to pay for car repairs, mortgage payments and credit card bills.

Lynch, who was paid $200,000 a year, also used the Clinton nonprofit's credit cards to pay for air travel, resorts, dining, clothes, groceries and federal income taxes from 2014-17.

In January 2015, he spent $1,457 at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs. Four months later, the credit card was used for a $212 purchase at Lululemon Athletica in Ann Arbor. The next year, the charity's credit card paid for a $1,300 vacation at Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort in Fort Lauderdale and a $27 meal at a farm-to-table restaurant in Boca Raton, prosecutors said.

Lynch pleaded guilty five months after being arrested by federal investigators. Prosecutors said he submitted bogus invoices and set up companies that he claimed were controlled by a relative but were really controlled by Lynch.

The allegations spanned Lynch's time as chief financial officer and chief executive for the nonprofit formerly known as Boysville of Michigan. 

Lynch “is exactly the type of white-collar criminal that needs to be deterred: a well-educated individual who sees a financial opportunity and uses his intelligence and corrupt character to exploit it through dishonest means,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hiyama said in a court filing.

The government said Lynch stole about $250,000. But he has repaid more than $257,000 so far and has a balance of $82,000, under a separate agreement with Holy Cross, defense attorney Mike Rataj said.

“Mr. Lynch acknowledges that he only has himself to blame for what he has done,” Rataj said.