USA Harvest founder Stan Curtis sentenced to 24 months in prison


by Bryan Shaw

Posted on September 4, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 4 at 6:00 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- USA Harvest founder Stan Curtis will spend 24 months in a federal prison and pay back just more than $183,000.  Curtis pleaded guilty to a seven count indictment of mail fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns back in July and will now serve a two-year sentence followed by three years of supervised release.

IRS restitution will be handled separately.

“He created these charities and feeding kids and personally found the blessing of the back pack charity and Kentucky Harvest.  His conduct was wrong and it was criminal but if you look at his whole history it has been extremely positive,”  Scott C. Cox, Stan Curtis’ attorney, said.

Prosecutors urged the judge to give Curtis a harsher sentence. But the judge says because of Curtis' health and that a plea deal had been reached, the 24 months sentence was appropriate.

No date of surrender has been set.

“I am convinced he will be placed in a prison hospital, a federal medical center.  I have had several clients in the past go down to Butner, N. C.  His family has a lot of contacts to the Missouri area and so I am hopeful he will end up there,” Cox said.

Curtis admitted to stealing $183,354 in donations from USA Harvest.  One hundred sixty-four thousand six hundred and twenty dollars was deposited into his personal account and $18,734 of checks were cashed.

He also admitted that he failed to report $553,891.67 in personal income from donations made to USA Harvest. He also falsely included approximately $353,165 in unreimbursed travel expense deductions. 

“He accepted responsibility for this from day one.  He was ready to plead guilty years ago.  He never once indicated that he wanted to contest these charges in any way.  The government’s expert found that he was incompetent, as you know, a year ago.  There was really nothing he could do to move forward in the case until he improved,” Cox said.

Kentucky Harvest was not included in this indictment but restitution has been ordered to be paid to them.

“It would be treated just like any other donation.  It would go toward feeding the less fortunate in Kentuckiana in a goal and mission to end hunger but it has been brought to our attention that we should not expect to see any that in the foreseeable future if ever,” Brent Smith the Kentucky Harvest Chairman said.

WHAS11 asked why but was told that it could not be discussed and that it was for the attorneys and accountants to handle.  Smith said that while initially they did have to answer questions about Curtis' crimes, the situation with USA Harvest has not hurt the organization.

“It has been a tough couple of years for everybody but I feel the organization is in a better spot then when we went in from a planning standpoint.  We haven’t seen a falloff from food donations.  We have done over a couple a million of pounds of food over the past two years,” Smith said.