MILWAUKEE -- They're called to service to others, but one Tripoli Shriner was sentenced to serve four years in prison on Monday, March 26, convicted of helping himself.
Michael Geiger took $188,000 from the organization, and was found guilty on March 5 of one count of theft/embezzlement, greater than $10,000, as party to a crime. He faced up to 10 years in prison.
Usually during sentencing, the individual being sentenced apologizes for their action. That was not the case this time.
Geiger, 50, on Monday learned his punishment for embezzling more than $188,000 between 2009 and 2010 from the organization he once led as potentate of the Tripoli Shrine Center. A Shriner explained the impact of Geiger's embezzlement of funds bequested to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
"We had to dissolve in 2011 the Tripoli Endowment Fund, which we did. We paid our debt to the Shriner Hospitals," said Douglas Winter, Tripoli Shriner.
Instead of an apology, Geiger let the court know about what he called "the alleged charges" have done to him.
"I have lost two careers, suffered public humiliation, financial hardship, mental, physical and emotional distress, and not only me but my family also," said Geiger.
"He's got some sort of character flaw and that's part of it -- that will not accept the responsibility," said Paul Peterson, Tripoli Shriner.
The judge sentenced Geiger to four years in prison and four years extended supervision -- and restitution of a little more than $188,000.
The Shriners say more money was taken.
"That was only a portion of what he absconded with. The real money was on that list that the judge had in front of him, and was submitted by the court was over$250,000," Bob Manders, Shrine Temple member.
The Shriners would like the additional money, but said they'll have to talk to an attorney as to how to go about it, whether it be civil actions or a request to the court.