BEMIDJI, Minn. — Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson announced Monday, Aug. 12, that his office is filing charges of theft by swindle against a former executive director of the Sanford Center arena in Bemidji.
In a release, Hanson said he was charging Curtis Webb in connection to financial crimes at the city-owned arena in his time as executive director, from 2013 to 2016.
Webb also faces similar charges in McLean County, Ill., in connection to a similar scheme involving the U.S. Cellular Coliseum, where Webb was employed as the executive director after he left Bemidji.
In Beltrami County, Webb is being charged with one count of theft by swindle for “a scheme involving tens of thousands of dollars for fraudulent expense reimbursements,” the release said.
Investigators from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s office were able to track down records of Webb’s reimbursement requests, which often included hotels, airfare, event registration, rental cars and food.
However, Hanson’s office said that when investigators contacted the various venues and hotels, no record of Webb attending those events or staying at those hotels could be found. Also, flight records obtained by investigators supported the fact that he did not attend the events he purported to, and in some cases, even directly contradicted his claims, the release said. For example, for one event that he claimed to attend in New York City, he actually flew to Cleveland during the time in question.
After Webb’s conduct at the Illinois arena came to light, his time at the Sanford Center in Bemidji became the subject of a Minnesota State Auditor’s Office investigative report, which found Webb was involved in over $100,000 worth of improper or questionable transactions.
VenuWorks, the Iowa-based company that manages the Sanford Center for the city of Bemidji, ultimately agreed to pay the city back more than $135,000.