Man Who Operated Reno Consulting Firm Sentenced To 2 1/2 Years In Prison For Theft And Failing To Pay Employment Taxes
RENO, Nev. – Michael Stickler, 54, of Reno, was sentenced on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du to 2½ years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and $100,899 to the IRS for his convictions on theft of federal grant money and failing to pay employment taxes, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
“Government programs are often the victims of scams and fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “If you steal from a federal program, you risk being investigated, prosecuted and sent to prison.”
Stickler owned and operated a company in Reno called Faith Based Solutions from 1999 to 2009. In 2007, Faith Based Solutions, received $500,000 in federal grant money to teach non-profit organizations how to apply for federal government grants. Part of the grant terms required that $200,000 of the grant funds be paid to sub-grantees. However, Stickler drew down all of the grant funds in the first seven months of the grant period and no money was ever provided to any sub-grantee. Rather, Stickler put the money in accounts that he controlled and used it to pay large salaries to himself and family members, to take elaborate vacations, and for other items that were not approved by the grant. Stickler also collected and withheld employment and FICA taxes from his employees’ wages, but failed to pay them over to the IRS.
Stickler pleaded guilty to one tax charge and was convicted by a jury of the theft charge. He is released on a personal recognizance bond and must report to federal prison by May 11, 2015.
The cases were investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. They were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla B. Higginbotham.