BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Curtis Webb, the former executive director of Bemidji's Sanford Center, pleaded guilty on Friday, Jan. 24, to one count of theft by swindle in relation to his former job.
As part of the plea, Webb's sentence will include a stay of imposition, three years of probation, a 45-day cap on jail time, a $1,000 fine, restitution of roughly $37,200 and that he have no contact with the organization VenuWorks, which is the Iowa-based company the city of Bemidji contracts with to manage the Sanford Center.
A stay of imposition would mean Webb's felony would be downgraded to a misdemeanor if he successfully completed his probation.
Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson clarified that just because the two parties agreed to those general terms, it doesn't necessarily mean the court will agree to them once it comes to sentencing. Webb also will have to have a pre-sentence investigation, which could impact the sentencing. His sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The charge against Webb stems from the fact that he made fraudulent claims for reimbursements for expenses he never actually incurred during his time with the Sanford Center, according to court documents. The fraudulent reimbursement requests Webb submitted were made from 2015-16. According to the documents, the sum of the reimbursements would have come to $38,214, roughly $1,000 more than the proposed restitution amount mentioned during Friday's hearing.
Webb was the executive director of the Sanford Center from 2013-16. The Sanford Center is a 4,700-seat multi-purpose arena that is also home of Bemidji State University hockey. He later accepted a position at the then-U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill., in June 2016. He was fired from the position that October when officials learned of discrepancies with a debit card that was supposed to be used for expenses at the arena, which is now known as Grossinger Motors Arena.
The Minnesota State Auditor's Office began investigating Webb's tenure at the Sanford Center once the allegations were announced in the Illinois case. The Beltrami County Attorney's Office initially filed the charges against Webb in August.
In November, Webb was sentenced in Illinois to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution of $1,149 in Illinois, according to the Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington.