Reno Man on Trial on Faith-Based Fraud Charges

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a Reno businessman accused of defrauding the government went on a $13,000 Hawaiian vacation with some of the $200,000 in faith-based grants he claimed to be spending on charitable groups but instead converted for his own use.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla Higginbotham said Tuesday that Michael Stickler shuffled money between accounts from 2007-08 to hide the true use of a $500,000 grant he obtained through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' faith-based initiative.

Stickler's Faith Based Services was one of several groups he ran that he said he used to raise money to benefit Christian and other non-profits, including a project to build homes in Haiti.

Defense attorneys say his bookkeeper is responsible. Their opening arguments are scheduled Wednesday.