USA Harvest founder Stan Curtis pleads guilty to stealing money - WDRB 41 Louisville News

USA Harvest founder Stan Curtis pleads guilty to stealing money from charity

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Stan Curtis has pleaded guilty to stealing money from U.S.A. Harvest, the charity organization he founded.

By pleading guilty, the 65-year-old admitted to stealing more than $180,000 dollars from the charity, and charging more than $370,000 for personal expenses.

"He really wanted to get this behind him and he felt like if he'd gone to trial, he'd been found guilty," said Curtis' attorney, Scott Cox.

Curtis pleaded guilty to seven felony counts: charges of money laundering, mail fraud and filing false tax returns. Chief Judge Joseph McKinley, Jr. wanted to make sure he understood the decision. Curtis' mental health, his memory in particular, has been questioned in the past, but he was found competent to stand trial last year.

"The judge reviewed her findings and also questioned him pretty extensively today to see if he was able to answer his questions appropriately, and the judge concluded that he did," said Cox.

In the plea agreement, prosecutors recommend Curtis spend 24 months in prison and pay a total of $183,354 in restitution. While Curtis' legal battle has gone on since 2012, another charity that he founded, Kentucky Harvest, has continued to help people.

"We've moved over two million pounds of food in the past two years, we really haven't seen a drop off there," said Chairman of the Board for Kentucky Harvest, Brent Smith. "Our donors have actually increased this year. I think it just comes down to, when you're trying to help the less fortunate, people realize that."

Smith is still happy the case appears to be coming to a close, even though U.S.A. Harvest and Kentucky Harvest did not operate together.

"There was negative publicity. You know, obviously, there was a guilt by association when you have the founder the same," Smith said. "Hopefully, now with him, you know, pleading guilty, that can be put behind him and everybody else and we can move forward."

Cox is hopeful the judge will agree with the state's recommendations for sentencing. That is scheduled to happen in early September.

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