Charity founder facing 52 years in prison - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Charity founder facing 52 years in prison

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Kentucky Harvest office. Kentucky Harvest office.
Stan Curtis during a Blessings In A Backpack event in Dec. 2011. Stan Curtis during a Blessings In A Backpack event in Dec. 2011.
Blessings in a backpack provides meals for needy children in backpacks. Blessings in a backpack provides meals for needy children in backpacks.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - He is best known for founding groups that help feed everyone from school kids to those who just can't afford to buy food on their own. Now the federal government has charged Stan Curtis was stealing from one of those organizations.

Curtis was indicted Wednesday on seven different counts including tax fraud and money laundering all connected to USA Harvest, a charity he founded.

Curtis also created Kentucky Harvest and Blessings in a Backpack. Attorney Steve Pence represents those organizations and said Curtis cut ties with them in the last year. He said he notified their board members in a couple days before the indictment. "I think all the board members and people affiliated with Kentucky Harvest and Blessings in a Backpack were surprised and disappointed of what we've learned."

Between 2005 and 2007 the U.S. Attorney's office said Curtis allegedly stole $183,354 dollars in donations that were given to USA Harvest and cashed more than $164,000 of that in his own personal account.

They said between 2005 and 2008, Curtis failed to report more than $553,000 in income to the IRS including the thousands allegedly stolen from USA Harvest and more than $370,000 in travel expenses charged to the charity.

Curtis' attorney Scott Cox wouldn't comment on how his client is doing only that they were aware the charges were coming and believe the case will be resolved quickly.

The U.S. Attorney said none of Curtis' charities have done anything wrong though they were part of the investigation. Pence said they cooperated, "They believe some of the people in our organization may have known something. We gave them all the information, all the documents they wanted. We're very happy it doesn't involve Kentucky Harvest or Blessings in a Backpack."

Pence said Curtis cut ties with those two organizations within the last year, likely because of the investigation. He hopes the charges won't stigmatize all the good the groups can do.

Cox said Curtis will likely go before a federal judge the last week in September. He's facing up to 52 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

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Charity founder indicted on federal charges