USA Harvest founder appears in federal court - WDRB 41 Louisville News

A frail Stan Curtis, USA Harvest founder, appears in federal court

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It has been a downward slide for a man who founded a local charity, and is accused of stealing from it. Now, Stan Curtis' health is adding to his decline.

Over the years, you could see Stan Curtis looking healthy, happy and even laughing.  But Thursday, a frail, thin Curtis was helped into a wheelchair and rolled into the federal courthouse. "I saw him just a short time before the indictment came down and he looked wonderful and then I heard of his illness and I was just shocked to see him today," said Nina Moseley, with Wayside Christian Mission. She says she still supports Curtis because of the good work he did for the needy.

Curtis came up with the idea of Kentucky Harvest in 1987. Volunteers deliver unused food from restaurants, bakeries, schools and other outlets to the needy. The concept went national with USA Harvest in 1989. He also founded Blessings in a backpack. "We feel for him we feel for his family. he sacrificed a lot of his time and a lot of his own resources helping the needy," said Moseley.

Authorities say none of the actual charities did anything wrong. But Curtis is accused of taking more than $180,000 in donations that he solicited for USA Harvest from 2005-2007. Federal prosecutors say he did not report a half million dollars in federal income. Officials say he used the money for meals, entertainment, and travel. He is facing seven felony charges that include mail fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. Months ago, his attorney Scott Cox hinted that Curtis would take a plea deal.

But that didn't happen Thursday. Cox told the judge he did not feel Curtis was competent to change his plea in court.

He says Curtis has lost more than 100 pounds because of health problems, and has had more setbacks this week, saying he has been disoriented. The judge agreed, saying "honestly, he looks to be a bit confused right now."

"I feel for him to have to be going through this along with the medical issues he's facing," said Moseley.

If convicted at trial, the charges carry the potential for 52 years in prison and a more than $1 million fine.

Curtis is due back in court January 31.

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