A North Carolina woman, formerly of Glouster in Athens County, has been arrested on multiple charges related to allegations that she stole and laundered money from a non-profit that raises funds in Athens County’s Trimble Township for families affected by cancer.
Wednesday afternoon, according to a news release from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities in North Carolina, including the University of North Carolina Police Department, with the assistance of the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, arrested Michelle M. Lowery-Rowan, 46, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina at her office at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She formerly lived in Glouster, where the Chix 4 a Cure non-profit is located.
Lowery-Rowan was indicted by the Athens County Grand Jury on Tuesday, Dec. 19, on multiple felony counts, including two for money laundering, two for grand theft, two for telecommunications fraud, and one count of each of tampering with evidence, forgery and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, according to the news release.
The release reported that bond on the warrant related to the indictments was set at $ 750,000 with no 10 percent allowed.
Facing that heavy bond, Lowery-Rowan remained in the Chatham County, North Carolina, Detention Center as of Friday morning, according to a jail spokesperson. The bond was set when Lowery-Rowan appeared before a magistrate in North Carolina Wednesday evening; the magistrate also set a hearing for Jan. 8 when possible extradition back to Athens will be considered.
According to the Dec. 20 release, prosecutors and investigators from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, working with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, expected to execute a search of Lowery-Rowan’s home later that afternoon.
In the release, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn provided details behind the multiple felony chargers. “Lowery-Rowan is accused of stealing over $ 7,500 from the Chix 4 a Cure account through the Ohio University Credit Union, as well as spending over $ 7,500 for personal expenses on a credit card issued to Chix 4 a Cure through Chase bank.
The $ 7,500 amount is listed since that’s the level at which those particular felony-level charges kick in. That’s not necessarily how much Lowery-Rowan allegedly stole.
“Lowery-Rowan is also accused of creating records, including bank statements, to cover up the offenses. The theft was uncovered by board members for Chix 4 a Cure and reported to our office,” Blackburn continued in the release. “Lowery-Rowan is accused of using the money for travel, household expenses, concert tickets, registration for her Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as well as other improper expenditures.”
This case was investigated by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office. Blackburn expressed appreciation for Sheriff Mike Roberson and his staff at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina.
According to its Facebook page, “Chix 4 a Cure is a non-profit, volunteer organization committed to raising cancer awareness in the Trimble Township Community. The organization is dedicated to making a difference through an annual fundraising event(s) in honor or memory of an individual affected by cancer. The event proceeds assist in providing academic scholarship, financial assistance for the individual, their family and support of nationally recognized organizations.”