BEMIDJI -- Curtis Webb, former executive director of the Sanford Center event arena in Bemidji, has been charged with theft in Beltrami County.
On Monday, Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson announced his office was filing the charge of theft by swindle against Webb, 48, who now lists an address in Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
In the release, Hanson said he was charging Webb in connection to financial crimes that exceed more than $35,000 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 scheme involving a city-owned arena in Bloomington, 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, the release said.
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 also 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. The criminal complaint lists a series of the alleged fraudulent reimbursements Webb submitted in 2015-16, with the highest being $6,900. In all, the specific reimbursements listed in the criminal complaint total $38,214.87.
In Illinois, Webb has been charged with theft of government funds for using a corporate debit card for personal travel and expenses during his tenure at U.S. Cellular Coliseum, now known as Grossinger Motors Arena.
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. In the criminal complaint, the sheriff's office investigator stated he concurs with the auditor's findings.
VenuWorks, the Iowa-based company that manages the Sanford Center for the city of Bemidji, ultimately agreed to pay the city back more than $134,000.
Webb is scheduled to appear in court in Bemidji on Friday, Sept. 6.