Federal judge sentences USA Harvest founder to 24 months in prison for fraud, tax evasion

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — The founder of a now-defunct charity that delivered food to the needy has been sentenced to 24 months in a federal prison for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. sentenced 66-year-old Hugh "Stan" Curtis on Thursday in Louisville. Curtis will also serve a three-year period of supervised release and must pay $183,354 in restitution.

Curtis pleaded guilty in June to tax evasion, mail fraud and money laundering for diverting donations he solicited on behalf of the nonprofit USA Harvest. Curtis acknowledged depositing $164,620 into his personal account and cashing and keeping donation checks totaling $18,734.

"Stan Curtis occupied a position of significant responsibility and trust. He abused that trust by diverting charitable donations intended for the poor and hungry," said David Hale, U.S. Attorney for Kentucky's Western District.

Curtis also admitted that from 2005 through 2008, he failed to report to the IRS roughly $341,646 in personal income 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.

USA Harvest used volunteers to pick up surplus food from restaurants, hotels, hospitals and various other food suppliers and delivered it to missions, soup kitchens, shelters and people in need. It is no longer in business.

Under his plea agreement, Curtis will pay his original organization, Kentucky Harvest, $183,354 in restitution.

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