Couple charged with wiping out foundation

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Associated Press

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 7 at 1:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville couple has been indicted on charges of embezzling $1.4 million from a foundation that gave out college scholarships, wiping out the funds and leaving students without their awards.

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Louisville alleges Charles Muir, longtime chairman of the Woodcock Foundation, and his wife, Diana Muir, used at least some of the money on gambling.

The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/THfyDs ) reported the couple pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud, moving stolen money across state lines and money laundering. They were released on $25,000 bonds and their trial is set for Feb. 12.

The indictment alleges that over five years, Charles Muir, 59, transferred the foundation's money into his wife's business account, disguising the payments as loans, and that they withdrew $262,000 from ATMs at Indiana casinos and took the rest out for her business bank account.

With assets that once totaled about $1.5 million, the Episcopal-church-affiliated charity gave away nearly $500,000 in the past five years alone to 60 to 70 students a year.

But now the foundation — named after the third bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, the Right Rev. Charles Edward Woodcock — has only $8, and students who were awarded scholarships last year never got their money.

Charles Muir's lawyer, Bethanni Forbush-Moss, wouldn't comment on the charges. Diana Muir told Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin she had no money for a lawyer, and a public defender was appointed for her.

The irregularities were first detected by the bank, which notified federal law enforcement authorities, said Alex Campbell, a lawyer for the foundation.

"The trustees are hugely disappointed," Campbell said. "An institution that existed to do good things for 140 years is virtually without funds."

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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