Husband, wife plead guilty to defrauding charity

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Associated Press

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 8:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The one-time chairman of a Louisville-based charity and the former director of a dental business have pleaded guilty to federal charges of diverting $1.1 million from the Woodcock Foundation over a four-year period.

Charles Muir and his wife, Diana Muir, of Louisville entered the pleas in federal court in Louisville on Thursday.

Charles Muir once ran the Woodcock Foundation, which has given scholarship money to college students for the past 50 years. He and Diana Muir admitted to illegally transferring funds through a dental business, then later withdrawing some of the money at ATMs in an Indiana casino.

Charles Muir, 61, faces 46 months in prison while Diana Muir, 60, faces six months in prison at sentencing on Oct. 23. The fraud took the Episcopal church-affiliated charity's assets down to $8. Both must repay the $1,141,030 taken from the charity.

A federal grand jury indicted the couple on four charges each in December 2012, but prosecutors dismissed the indictment when the Muirs agreed to plead guilty to charges of interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.

"Both of you agreed that you did the things the government said you did?" asked U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II.

"Yes," Diana Muir replied.

"Yes, sir," Charles Muir said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Calhoun said the couple diverted the charity's money by falsely representing that DBM-Dental Direct was entitled to investment payments, and over a four year period transferred money from a foundation bank account to DBM-Dental Direct's account. Calhoun said the couple then withdrew funds at an ATM in Indiana including ATM casinos in Indiana between April 2007 and June 2011.

The couple remains free on $25,000 bond each pending sentencing.

The Woodcock Foundation, founded in 1872, has given scholarship money to needy college students for the past 50 years. With assets that once totaled about $1.5 million, the Episcopal-church-affiliated charity gave away nearly $500,000 in the past seven years alone to 60 to 70 students a year.

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