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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Founder Of USA Harvest Sentenced To 24 Months In Prison For Embezzling From The Charity And Tax Fraud


– Hugh “Stan” Curtis ordered to pay $183,354 in restitution

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – USA Harvest founder, Hugh “Stan” Curtis was sentenced today by Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., to serve 24 months in prison, followed by a three year period of supervised release and ordered to pay $183,354 in restitution, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. Restitution to the IRS will be handled independently by the civil division of the IRS, and the amount owed in taxes will be calculated independently by the IRS. Curtis pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Louisville to a to a seven count federal indictment charging him with mail fraud, money laundering and filing false income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on July 3, 2014.

“As founder and sole officer of USA Harvest, Stan Curtis occupied a position of significant responsibility and trust. He abused that trust by diverting charitable donations intended for the poor and hungry,” stated U.S. Attorney Hale. “Curtis will spend 24 months in prison and has been ordered to pay back the $187,354 that he stole from the foundation and used for his own personal benefit.”

Curtis, 65, of Louisville, Kentucky, admitted that from September 2005 through September 2007, he stole $183,354 in donations that he solicited on behalf of USA Harvest, non-profit, I.R.C. 501(c)(3) organization he founded. Of these donated funds, Curtis acknowledged that he deposited $164,620 into his personal account and cashed donation checks totaling $18,734 – and thereafter used the funds for his personal benefit. The $164,620 includes checks written to USA Harvest on August 29, 2007 for $20,000 from Play Like the Pros, LLC and a September 5, 2007 donation from Richemont North America, Inc., for $25,000 which Curtis deposited into his own personal bank account and used for his own personal gain. Curtis did not report the $183,354 as income with the Internal Revenue Service.

Curtis also admitted that from 2005 through 2008, he failed to report to the Internal Revenue Service approximately $553,891.67 in personal income derived from donations made to USA Harvest. From 2005 through 2008 Curtis falsely included approximately $353,165 in unreimbursed travel expense deductions on his federal income tax returns. Of the $553,891.67 in unreported income, Curtis used approximately $370,537.67 in USA Harvest funds to pay for personal meals, personal travel and personal entertainment expenses. In total, defendant Curtis failed to pay $270,000 in federal income tax from calendar years 2005 through 2008.

Curtis admitted to filing false tax returns with the IRS. In 2005, Curtis failed to report approximately $160,549.56 in income and falsely deducted approximately $134,623 in unreimbursed travel expenses from USA Harvest on his 2005 federal income tax return filed on April 15, 2006. For the year 2006 Curtis failed to report approximately $217,085.18 income and falsely deducted approximately $130,739 in unreimbursed travel expenses from USA Harvest on his 2006 federal income tax return filed on May 9, 2007. For the year 2007 Curtis failed to report approximately $97,264.48 and falsely deducted approximately $87,803 in unreimbursed travel expenses from USA Harvest on his federal income tax return filed on April 15, 2008. For the year 2008 Curtis failed to report approximately $78,992.45 in income from USA Harvest on his 2008 federal income tax return filed on October 16, 2009. The return was filed by Curtis and signed under the penalty of perjury.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bryan Calhoun and was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division.

Updated December 15, 2014